METAIRIE – Zach Strief, a stalwart in the Saints offensive line during the best years in the franchise’s history, announced his retirement Monday during a news conference during which he was at times emotional, at times funny and at times sentimental.

Strief was a rookie in 2006 when the team went to the NFC Championship game, only to fall one win shy of a Super Bowl. He was also on the Super-Bowl winning squad during the 2009 season.

Strief spent a lot of time thanking Mickey Loomis for his honesty in negotiations; Jon Stinchcomb for his tutelage, even though Strief was gunning for his job; and Drew Brees, who he said led the club by his performance and by his work ethic, saying that Brees often worked far longer than the rest of the team.

“Every Thursday I would send him pictures of the menu so we could order his dinner, since his work day ended four hours after ours,” said Strief of Brees. “You made countless sacrifices for your teammates… My greatest drive as a player was not to let you down.”

Strief, who came to the Saints out of Northwestern University, played in only two games in 2017 due to knee injuries.