Offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz, a four-time All-Pro selection, announced his retirement from the NFL Thursday after nine seasons.
Schwartz, 33, did not play last season after being fired by the Kansas City Chiefs last March. He underwent surgery last February for a back injury that ended his 2020 season early and notched a streak of 134 straight starts.
In his statement posted to social media on Thursday, Schwartz wrote that he has been in rehab since that surgery.
“I’m feeling as good right now as I have since, but it’s clear my body will never be the same. The nerve pain in my legs is not common anymore, but it may never go away entirely,” he said in the statement.
Schwartz spent his first four NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns, who drafted him in the second round of the 2012 draft from Cal. He signed with the Chiefs as a free agent in 2016 and was an All-Pro in every season from 2016-2019, including first-team selection in 2018.
He had a streak of 7,894 straight offensive snaps early in his career before being briefly eliminated from a midseason game in 2019. He didn’t miss a game that season, however, and also started in each of the Chiefs’ three postseason games, including their 31-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, to win his first championship ring.
“Winning the Super Bowl was the highlight of my career,” he said. “I’ve met so many great people and formed relationships that will last a lifetime. Football has been 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.”
In fact, the affable offensive lineman has garnered a huge following for both his cooking demonstrations and his often harsh criticism of the NFL. Mitch in the Kitch videos are posted to YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and his own blog.
“I’ve enjoyed my time in the NFL so much and I’m going home feeling fulfilled,” said Schwartz, whose brother Geoff has played six NFL seasons. “I have other interests that I will have more time for: food/cooking and my series Mitch in the Kitch, travel, golf, watches. But most importantly, I will have more time with my wife Brooke and our two small dogs.”
He ended his statement by thanking the City of Kansas City and Chiefs fans.
“My final thanks go to Kansas City and all the Chiefs fans. There’s so much more to being a chief than just 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 will last forever and is a big reason Brooke and I are staying in KC long-term.
“There was no better indication of the greatness of Chiefs Kingdom than the parade. Seeing Sea of Red was amazing and put into perspective how many people were cheering for us knowing there were many more who couldn’t attend. This city and their support is difficult to describe until you feel it personally. I’m a chief forever and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.