April 22, 2019

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Veteran Saints lineman Zach Strief announces retirement

The Saints right tackle struggled to speak when he announced his decision to end his 12-year NFL career. Strief welled up at times and stated his carrier exceeded his “wildest imagination.” Strief went on to say ,”There was no clear replacement on the roster and I knew if I was at home watching TV and Drew was getting hit and I felt like I could have helped, I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself. It’s much easier knowing that there’s someone there that’s going to play at a high level for him. So this is all Ryan Ramczyk’s fault.” Ramczyk blossomed in his rookie season, much of which he spent at right tackle after Strief’s Week 4 knee injury.

Strief became a father about two months ago and is part owner of a New Orleans microbrewery, where he said he hopes to meet every member of the Saints’ fan base.”I am not above shameless self-promotion.”

Strief said of Coach Sean Payton: “You took a chance on me when no one else would. Your faith in me has changed my life.” To general manager Mickey Loomis: “You kept me around for a long time, admittedly to your own surprise. If I was honest, I’d say it surprised me as well,” and to QB Drew Brees: “My greatest drive as a player was not to let you down. You’re the greatest leader I’ve ever been around and I admire you so much.”

The 6-foot-7, 340-pound Strief wound up being part of the most successful era in franchise history, which included a Super Bowl triumph in the 2009 season.

He will be missed and I wish him well in his future endeavors.