In Announcing His Retirement, Zach Strief Gave The Saints A Pretty Good Reminder Of How Much He'll Be Missed
I got to be honest, I would have welcomed a bit of heads up that Zach Strief was planning on both comedically and emotionally jerking at the tear ducts of every teammate, coach, executive, journalist, and fan that came to appreciate what he consistently provided on and off the field as one of the longest tenured New Orleans Saints. Seeing as his retirement was foreshadowed, I don't think the announcement came as much of a surprise, but I certainly didn't expect it to have me all up in my feelings on a Monday afternoon. That's probably my fault for not realizing that having chemistry with the only player he didn't outlast (::knock on wood::) wasn't the only good reason that Zach Strief was also able to block aside the cold-blooded business of pro sports as he remained a beloved member of one, and only one, ever-changing locker room for well over a decade. Still, I doubt too many considered that the Saints long time offensive lineman was going to step to the mic and humbly wax poetic about the Saints in an emotional way that gave all those invested in their success a much greater appreciation for it.
As fans, we like to baselessly believe that all the players we root for are a part of a fantasy land in which our favorite teams are run flawlessly. While that's never true, I think the picture that Zach Strief just painted told a story of not just the career of a selfless player, but of an admirable organization that he helped mold. It's tough not to respect just how intertwined the two have become through the ups and downs of a franchise that had no idea it was selecting its right tackle of the foreseeable future when they made a 7th round selection in the 2006 NFL Draft. They are obviously glad they did, but don't take my word for it, because there's no shortage of people who know far better what Zach Strief has long meant to a team that will miss his unifying, experienced, and good-humored presence no matter how talented they are in the trenches...