(AP) Saints right tackle Zach Strief says he's retiring after 12 NFL seasons.
Strief, who made a tearful announcement on Monday, says his career far exceeded his expectations. He was a seventh-round draft choice out of Northwestern in 2006, which was coach Sean Payton's first season. He wound up being part of the most successful era in franchise history, which included a Super Bowl triumph in the 2009 season.
The 34-year-old Strief was a regular reserve during much of his first five seasons, routinely rotating onto the field for tackle-eligible formations. He became a starter in 2011 on an offense that set an NFL single-season record with 7,474 yards.
He remained the starting right tackle in the beginning of last season, which was cut short a knee injury.
Several Saints players and coaches attended Strief's announcement, including Payton, quarterback Drew Brees, running back Mark Ingram and defensive end Cameron Jordan.
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