‘My career has exceeded my wildest imagination’: Saints tackle Zach Strief announces retirement

NEW ORLEANS — Saints offensive tackle Zach Strief has announced his retirement from the NFL after 12 years with the New Orleans Saints.

The 34-year-old former Northwestern standout made the announcement Monday at a press conference at the Saints training facility.

“What is truly unique in this city is that you have been there no matter the outcome,” Strief said. “You do not turn negative after a loss. You always see the positives coming around the corner. It was my greatest joy as a player getting to be a part of bringing you a world championship, and I fully expect you’ll be getting another one quite soon.”

Upon ending his NFL and Saints career, he was tied with quarterback Drew Brees for being the most tenured Saint after the 2017 season, where he wrapped up his 12th campaign.

Strief appeared in 158 regular season games with 93 starts, the 11th-most games played by a Saint, third among offensive linemen. He also appeared in 10 postseason games, tied for second in club record books, with four starts.

After securing a roster spot out of training camp in 2006, Strief appeared in nine games as a rookie, making his first career start at left tackle in a win at Tampa Bay, Nov. 5, where he didn’t surrender a sack.

Over the next four seasons, Strief served as a valuable blocker for New Orleans including contributing to the team’s Super Bowl XLIV Championship. In 2011, he moved into the starting lineup on a regular basis, opening all 11 regular season games and both postseason contests he played in at right tackle, a position he’d assume for his final seven seasons. In that first season as a starter, Strief, blocked for an offense that set an NFL single-season record with 7,474 yards, with the offensive line winning the 2011 Madden Protectors Award, recognizing the league’s top front five unit.

A 6-foot-7, 340-pound native of Cincinnati, Strief opened 87 regular season games and four postseason contests at right tackle from 2011-17.

During this period, the Saints ranked first in total offense overall, ranking first in three of those seasons (2011, 2014 and 2016), second three times (2012-13 and 2017) and fourth in 2013. During his tenure as a starter, he led the way for the top four single-season net yards per game totals in team history. He also served as an offensive team captain five times.

Watch an interview News with a Twist did with Strief before the 2017 Saints season: