METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Zach Strief has announced that he is retiring from the NFL. Strief made the announcement during a news conference at the Saints Facility in Metairie Monday.
Ian Rapoport tweeted two weeks ago that Strief, 34, was expected to retire after an injury-ridden season.
Strief, a seventh-round pick in 2006, played 12 seasons for the Saints, but he appeared in just two games in 2017 before going on injured reserve in early October with a knee injury, according to our partners NOLA.com | The Times Picayune.
"I could not have been more fortunate to have Sean Payton as a head coach for the last 12 years," Strief said.
In addition to acknowledging his head coach, Strief also spoke highly of some teammates who helped him in his career. "Jon Stinchcomb showed me the entire playbook on how to be a professional. He has been a coach to me when we played together and has, at times, been a therapist to me since he has left."
Another player who Strief mentioned was quarterback Drew Brees, a player he spent most of his career working to protect as one of the starters on the offensive line. "Drew Brees has been the single greatest motivation for me as a player. You have made countless sacrifices for your teammates, spent countless hours with us instead of your family. 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 as a player but more as a person. Being a small part of your Hall of Fame career has been my greatest honor."
Strief's retirement would leave the Saints with just three players left from the 2009 Super Bowl team, quarterbacks Drew Brees and Chase Daniel and punter Thomas Morstead.
Strief had surgery in November on his anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments, making his recovery hard for a comeback during the regular season, according to the NFL report.
NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune reports that Ryan Ramczyk will be the Saints' top right tackle.