Offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz, a four-time All-Pro selection, announced his retirement from the NFL on Thursday after nine seasons.
Schwartz, 33, didn’t play last season after he was released by the Kansas City Chiefs last March. He had surgery last February for a back injury that prematurely ended his season in 2020 and snapped a streak of 134 consecutive starts.
In his statement posted to social media on Thursday, Schwartz wrote that he has been doing rehab ever since that surgery.
“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,” he said in the statement.
Schwartz spent his first four NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns, who selected him in the second round of the 2012 draft out of Cal. He signed with the Chiefs in 2016 as a free agent and was an All-Pro each season from 2016 through 2019, including being selected to the first team in 2018.
He had a streak of 7,894 consecutive offensive snaps to begin his career before briefly being knocked out of a midseason game in 2019. He didn’t miss a game that season, however, and also started each of the Chiefs’ three postseason games, including their 31-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV to earn his first championship ring.
“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.
“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.”
He ended his statement by thanking the city of Kansas City and Chiefs fans.
“My last thank you is to Kansas City, and all the Chiefs fans. Being a Chief is so much more than putting on a red jersey. It has been a privilege to represent you on and off the field,” he said in the statement. “The bond I’ve formed with this city and the people here lasts forever and is a big reason why Brooke and I are staying in KC long term.
“There was no better indication of the magnitude of Chiefs Kingdom than the parade. Seeing that Sea of Red was amazing and put into perspective just how many people cheer us on, knowing there were many more that couldn’t attend. This city and its support is hard to describe until you’ve felt it personally. I am forever a Chief and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.