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Meet Zach Strief: Starting tackle for the Saints and Bengals fan

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"(The 49ers) are the cause of all the woes of the years that we were good and had a chance and they took that away from us," Strief said with lament.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Meet Zach Strief, starting right tackle for the New Orleans Saints.

He's also a Cincinnati native -- went to Milford before venturing off to Northwestern -- and like most of us who were born and/or raised in Cincinnati, he became a Bengals fan.

"I grew up in Cincinnati. I had season tickets. I was a big Bengals fans. I always believed," Strief said via The Times-Picayune. "There's actually a pretty strong parallel to Cincinnati and (New Orleans) in terms of the teams and their successes."

Strief, selected by the Saints in the seventh-round of the 2006 NFL draft, infrequently returns to Cincinnati a few times out of the year. Playing in his ninth season with New Orleans, starting 54 games and playing 118, Strief has settled nicely in adopted home. According to Pro Football Focus, he's been one of the best offensive linemen in New Orleans (+22.8 overall in 2013 and +6.6 in 2014) and continues to make an impression as a pass blocker (+24.1 pass protection score over the last two seasons combined). The former Cincinnati-native scored a five-year contract worth $20.5 million over the offseason with $8.4 million guaranteed.

Like us, he remembers the 49ers.

"(The 49ers) are the cause of all the woes of the years that we were good and had a chance and they took that away from us," Strief said with lament. "The Saints played in the division with the 49ers and they had Joe Montana and then Steve Young and they could never get over that hump. We went to the Super Bowl twice and lost to Joe Montana. So there's a lot of parallels there."

There are several comparisons to New Orleans.

"I remember being a kid thinking we were going to win the Super Bowl," Strief said via the Cincinnati Enquirer. "Unfortunately I grew up in an era where we didn't have a whole lot of success or a whole lot to cheer about. Really it was kind of similar to what we have here. There are actually a lot of parallels if you look at the two organizations, Cincinnati and New Orleans. It's not always easy to be a fan, but we loved our team and we supported them and it was a big part of my life."