Pali High Football Alum Mitchell Schwartz Released by Kansas City Chiefs
There is no such thing as job security in the world of professional football. You are always one play away from a career-ending injury and one phone call away from being traded or let go.
A vivid example of this came last Thursday when the Kansas City Chiefs announced that the club had released offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mitchell,” Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach said. “His durability and toughness is remarkable and he certainly left his mark on our team. These decisions are never easy, especially with guys like him, but he will forever be a part of our history.”
Schwartz is a big reason the Chiefs made back-to-back Super Bowls. He started every game in 2019 when Kansas City captured its first Super Bowl title in 50 years, but a back injury kept him out of last month’s title game, which the Chiefs lost.
“I’d like to thank Mitch for his contributions over the years,” Chiefs Coach Andy Reid said. “Every day this young man came to work with the right attitude, ready to grind, both on the field and in the classroom. He is dirty tough, but beyond that, a good person and I enjoyed coaching him. I wish him the best as he continues his career.”
Schwartz (6-foot-5, 320 pounds) has played nine seasons in the NFL, the last five with the Chiefs (2016-20). He joined Kansas City after spending the first four years of his pro career with the Cleveland Browns (2012-15). Schwartz entered the NFL as Cleveland’s second-round pick (37th overall) in the 2012 Draft. He has started 134 regular season games (70 in Kansas City) and seven postseason games, including the team’s victory in Super Bowl LIV.
The Pacific Palisades native was on the field for 7,894 consecutive offensive snaps to begin his NFL career. He started 134 consecutive games on the offensive line prior to being placed on injured reserve in Week 7 of 2020. Schwartz earned All-Pro honors in three consecutive seasons with the Chiefs (2017-19). He played collegiately at the University of California.
Schwartz posted on his Twitter account: “Thank you Chiefs Kingdom!! What a ride it’s been!”
Schwartz is recovering from back surgery February 21 after weeks and weeks of non-invasive treatments that failed to alleviate his pain and discomfort. “I’m getting surgery today,” he tweeted that morning. “I was hoping to recover enough to get back for the playoffs and/or Super Bowl, but that didn’t happen. It’s time to address the issue. The recovery process isn’t too long which is nice. Looking forward to a healthy 2021.”
The operation went smoothly according to the surgeon and Schwartz flew home two days later to begin recovery, which includes physical therapy to get him moving around. Without Schwartz and two other starting offensive linemen, Kansas City was routed 31-9 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 in Tampa. Schwartz spent the second half of the 2020 campaign on injured reserve, last playing in Week 6.
Schwartz was named City Section Offensive Lineman of the Year as a senior at Palisades High in 2006. He started 141 games in a row before missing the Chiefs’ road win at Denver in October.
As for his career, the next step is uncertain as it is unlikely any team would offer Schwartz a contract until he is fully healed and his physical condition can be assessed.
Schwartz was a two-time All-State underclassman and earned All-Western League and All-City honors his junior year at Palisades. His older brother Geoff preceded him at Palisades and won the Post Cup Award as the school’s outstanding senior athlete.
Mitchell played collegiately at Cal where, after redshirting in 2007, he started every game for four straight years—a total of 51—while earning his bachelor’s degree in American Studies.
Mitchell and Geoff are the first Jewish brothers to play in the NFL since Ralph Horween and Arnold Horween in 1923. Their book “Eat My Schwartz: Our Story of NFL Football, Food, Family, and Faith” was published in 2016. Geoff Geoff is enjoying his new career as a writer for SB Nation and hosts a weekly podcast called “Block’em Up.”
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