Star right tackle Mitchell Schwartz announced his retirement from the NFL on Thursday at the age of 33. Schwartz, who last played for the Kansas City Chiefs, sat out the 2021 season after missing the majority of the 2020 campaign due to a back injury. Schwartz cited the injury as a reason why he's hanging up the cleats.
"I'm officially retiring from the NFL," Schwartz wrote in a statement. "It's been almost two years since I injured my back. I had surgery last February and have been doing rehab ever since. I'm currently feeling as good as I have since then, but it's clear my body won't ever be the same. The nerve pain down my legs is no longer a daily occurrence, but it might never fully go away."
Schwartz was a three-time second-team All-Pro, a first-team All-Pro in 2018 and a Super Bowl champion. He was originally selected by the Cleveland Browns in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft out of Cal and signed a five-year deal with the Chiefs ahead of the 2016 season. It was in Kansas City where he played his best ball, being named an All-Pro in each of his first four seasons before suffering his back injury in 2020. That season was the first one in which he failed to play and start in all 16 games.
Kansas City released Schwartz following the 2020 season as a cost-cutting measure, but he said he's forever a Chief and that there's nowhere else he would rather be.
"I've enjoyed so much about my time in the NFL and am walking away feeling very fulfilled," Schwartz wrote. "Winning the Super Bowl was the pinnacle of my career. My 7,894 consecutive snaps streak and 4 All-Pro nominations are my proudest individual accomplishments, far exceeding my own expectations. I've met so many great people and forged relationships that will last a lifetime. Football was a big part of my life and always will be. I love the game and have a passion for sharing my knowledge. But I never defined myself as only a football player. I have other interests that I'll have more time to explore: food/cooking and my Mitch in the Kitch series, travel, golf, horology. But most importantly I'll have more time with my wife, Brooke, and our two little dogs."