When Zaven Collins became the 16th overall winner of the 2021 NFL Draft and was selected by the Cardinals, he probably couldn’t envision the scenario he would find himself in just hours later on his way to his introductory press conference.
The Cardinals had dispatched a private jet to pick up Collins at his home in Tulsa, Okla. Normal enough for a prospect of the first round.
Somewhat more unusual, the cardinal owner, Michael Bidwell, was the one who flew the plane.
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The 56-year-old Bidwell has had a pilot’s license since he was 19 and therefore has a lot of experience in flying. Even so, having an owner flying to pick up a player is quite unique.
But Collins seemed to be enjoying it. On Good Morning Football, Collins was asked about his ride with Bidwell and had nothing but good things to say.
“Mr. Bidwell came and picked me up and he relaxed and he just said, ‘Get in and we’ll talk about everything and you can come up and sit in that little area behind the cockpit. [but] Put your seat belt on, buckle up, “said Collins.” It was nice. I had to let him talk to me about all the different instruments, all the different things with the plan. You know he’s a smart man and he knows so much about everything. “
And how was Bidwell as a pilot? Collins had no complaints about his skills.
“That was probably one of the smoothest landings I’ve ever had,” said Collins. “He flown us right in and it was like we were already on the ground. I didn’t even feel the wheels beating. It was crazy. I thought, man, that was just absolutely great.”
Collins also stated that Bidwell led him past one of his old fields and they were given permission to bank the plane there. That’s a pretty cool additional gesture from Bidwell.
It sounds like Collins appreciated the opportunity to fly with Bidwell as a pilot. Perhaps the owner of the Cardinals will make this a tradition that continues to develop. If he does, one of the cooler perks of the day could be becoming a cardinal.