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NFL locker rooms need more players like Zach Strief

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Plain and simple, there might not be a football player I've covered whom I respect more than Zach Strief. Strief ended his football career Monday (March 12) by officially announcing his retirement after 12 seasons with the New Orleans Saints. ...

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Old 03-13-2018, 07:23 AM   #1
Threaded by SmashMouth
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Plain and simple, there might not be a football player I've covered whom I respect more than Zach Strief.

Strief ended his football career Monday (March 12) by officially announcing his retirement after 12 seasons with the New Orleans Saints. It's easy to see how well-respected Strief was with his teammates. Drew Brees, Mark Ingram, Cam Jordan, Thomas Morstead and several others attended Strief's farewell press conference.

Strief even brought Brees to tears.

I'm not sure anyone would have imagined Strief becoming the longest-tenured player from the Saints' historic 2006 NFL Draft class. It's probably a safe assumption that Strief would say the same thing.

"I didn't think this was going to last through my first August, let alone 12 years," a candid Strief said Monday.

Strief knew his limitations. He worked his tail off to be the best player possible and squeezed out every ounce of talent from his massive frame. As a result, Strief played his best football in the twilight of his career and molded into of the better right tackles in the NFL. (It probably didn't hurt to face Jordan at defensive end every day in practice to help master his craft).



He's the type of player every NFL locker room needs.

Strief started his career known more for "No. 64 is eligible" than anything else. Sean Payton inserted Strief as a sixth lineman so often that I heard the announcement in my sleep. Strief served as backup until the 2011 season when he replaced Jon Stinchcomb (probably Strief's best friend on the team) as the starter.

Strief only improved with age. If Strief wanted to continue playing, there's no doubt in my mind he'd become an instant starter. He staved off one first-round pick gunning for his job. The Saints moved Andrus Peat to guard because Strief clearly won the job. He likely would have kept 2017 first-round pick Ryan Ramczyk on the bench had Strief not suffered injuries.

Strief openly expressed his thoughts on his football mortality on many occasions. He wasn't going to hang on to a career longer than he should. And I bet Strief is at peace with his decision to retire.

His honesty always provided the public insight into the team you don't see very often from players. He told it like it is -- for better or worse.

Strief once told Jahri Evans and me in the locker room that we were acting like "a bunch of babies" for our Twitter spat a couple of years ago. Who calls out a columnist AND his teammate to their faces at the same time?


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