KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)Former All-Pro offensive tackle Mitch Schwartz, who helped the Kansas City Chiefs win their first Super Bowl in 50 years in 2019, announced his retirement Thursday because of lingering effects from a back injury.
The 33-year-old Schwartz, who had played in 134 consecutive games with Cleveland and Kansas City, hurt his back against Buffalo in October 2020. He had surgery in the offseason and skipped last year in the hopes of making a full recovery.
Schwartz said in a statement that ”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 might never fully go away.”
Schwartz’s durability was downright legendary. He played 7,849 snaps between the start of his career, when the Browns selected him in the second round of the 2012 draft, and his injury in Week 6 of the 2020 season. Along the way, Schwartz became the anchor for an offensive line that helped the Chiefs rally past San Francisco in the Super Bowl.
Schwartz was voted a first-team All-Pro in 2018. He also was picked to the second team on three occasions.
”Winning the Super Bowl was the pinnacle of my career,” he said. ”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 a football player.”
Indeed, the affable offensive lineman has built a massive following as much for his cooking demonstrations as his often-searing critique of the NFL. ”Mitch in the Kitch” videos are posted on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and his own blog.
The Chiefs released Schwartz prior to last season when it became clear he wouldn’t be able to play.
”I’ve enjoyed so much my time in the NFL and walk away feeling fulfilled,” said Schwartz, whose brother Geoff played six NFL seasons. ”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.”
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