GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Zach Strief found himself enjoying the Mississippi Gulf Coast Monday afternoon, promoting the expanded distribution of Port Orleans Brewing Company, of which Strief is a partial owner. However, promoting beer isn't the only way the former Saints offensive lineman looks to spend his retirement.
According to a report by NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune last Friday, Strief is one of four finalists for the Saints' radio play-by-play position, a job Jim Henderson previously held for 31 years until his retirement in February. Strief confirmed his interest to WLOX.
"The people at (WWL Radio) have been really gracious with me," Strief said. "Obviously with Jim Henderson leaving, there's a void there. I expressed my interest in it, they expressed a willingness in letting me attempt it, and I've worked very hard at it over the past few months. I'm fortunately still around."
Strief, who retired in March after a twelve year career with New Orleans, doesn't necessarily boast the same broadcast experience as the other finalists, such as former WWL-TV anchor Mike Hoss, New Orleans Pelicans radio play-by-play announcer Sean Kelley and Pelicans television play-by-play announcer Joel Meyers. However, Strief has occasionally served as a guest host on WWL-AM over the last few months, including their NFL Draft coverage in May.
Throughout his playing career, he was also well known as being a go-to interview when local media needed thoughtful insight on the team.
"It's natural and it's not," Strief said about his transition to broadcasting. "Obviously as athletes, we do a lot more color, a lot more analyst work, and play-by-play work is different. The first time I did it, it felt very rocky, (but) the longer I've done it the more comfortable I'm getting. I'm getting to a point now where I feel like it's something that I have the ability to do.
"I by no means would be a finished product in August, but I do think that I have the work ethic and I think I have the ability to do it and do it at a high level."
Strief played in 158 games for the Saints from 2006 through 2017, including 94 starts.
"I have a huge passion for the New Orleans Saints, I love the team. For me, Jim Henderson was synonymous with the Saints, it was like he was a member of the team. Given the opportunity to be that for somebody else, to be synonymous with the Saints for a long time, means a lot to me. Hopefully we find out soon where they're going with it.
"The goal would be to bring Saints fans a different dimension and something unique to the city of New Orleans. I know how important the team is to them and how important that job is to Saints fans, so I have a lot of respect for the role."
According to the NOLA.com report, WWL and Entercom are expected to name the finalist for the job sometime before the start of Saints training camp, which begins Wednesday, July 25.