Long-time Saints OT Zach Strief to make unorthodox transition to play-by-play announcer

Retired athletes make the transition to the broadcast booth all the time.

Just not the way Zach Strief is doing it. The 12-year NFL veteran, who spent his entire career on the New Orleans Saints offensive line, will take over as the team’s radio play-by-play announcer next season, WWL announced on Wednesday.

Zach Strief not taking the analyst route

Former athletes tend to make their way into broadcasting as studio analysts or color analysts on game broadcasts, providing unique insight into the games that come from experience as players.

Play-by-play duties are generally left to seasoned broadcast professionals. Think Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. Giving commentary is one skill-set. Driving a broadcast is a completely different challenge.

Retired Saints lineman Zach Strief is joining the broadcast booth in a role rarely filled by former athletes. (AP)

Strief has broadcast bonafides

While Strief arrives at the booth with a wealth of insight into Saints football, he also has some legitimate broadcast credentials, having graduated with a communications degree from Northwestern in 2006. He has also served as a guest host on WWL and participated in the station’s NFL draft coverage since he retired after last season, The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

He must have made quite an impression.

He joins Deuce McAllister in booth

He’ll partner in the booth with former Saints running back Deuce McAllister, who touted Strief’s ability in the WWL announcement.

“If there are any doubters out there, all I have to say is this — never stack the odds against Zach,” McAllister said.  “He’s a 7th round pick, who busted his butt to become one of the best in the league.”

Strief will have big shoes to fill, taking over for Jim Henderson, who called Saints games for 32 years before stepping down last season.

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