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Mitchell Schwartz

(1989 - )

Mitchell Schwartz was born on June 8, 1989, in Pacific Palisades, California and grew up in West Los Angeles. He is the son of Lee Schwartz, a business consultant to manufacturing companies, and Olivia Goodkin, an attorney. Schwartz is Jewish and was raised in Conservative Judaism. His Hebrew name is Mendel.

When he started the ninth grade, he was already 6 feet 5 inches tall and 240 pounds, too big for the size restrictions of the local Pop Warner youth leagues. Additionally, his parents wanted him to instead focus on studying for his Bar Mitzvah.

High School Career

Schwartz attended Palisades Charter High School. Playing football for his high school team, on which he was the team captain, he was regarded as a three-star offensive tackle prospect by, and by which ranked him #23.

He began as a quarterback, but quickly moved over to offensive tackle where he was a four-year starter. Schwartz was a two-time All-State “underclassman” pick and earned 2005 All-Western League and All-City honors as a junior. As a senior, he was the 2006 California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Los Angeles City Offensive Lineman of the Year, 2006 Western League Lineman of the Year, and received Prepstar 2006 All-West Region honors.

Schwartz was also an all-league pitcher on the school baseball team. Academically, he had a 4.3 GPA and was named to the Principal’s Honor Roll and Dean’s List.

Coming out of high school, he received football offers from Cal, Michigan, Stanford, Virginia, Tennessee, Oregon, and Washington State.

College Career

Schwartz attended the University of California, Berkeley, from 2007 to December 2011. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in American Studies, with an emphasis on human development and identity.

He redshirted in 2007. In 2008, Schwartz started all 13 games, the first three games at right tackle and the remaining 10 at left tackle. He was named a second-team Freshman All-American by College Football News, received the Bob Tessier Award as Cal’s Most Improved Offensive Lineman, and received honorable mention Pac-10 All-Academic honors.

In 2009, Schwartz started all 13 games at right tackle. He was Lindy’s second-team preseason All-Pac-10, was Athlon third-team preseason All-Pac-10, was a Phil Steele preseason, midseason, and postseason third-team All-Pac-10 choice, received All-Pac-10 honorable mention and Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention, and received Cal’s Brick Muller Award as its Most Valuable Offensive Lineman.

In 2010, he started all 12 games at left tackle. He was a second-team All-Pac-10 choice. Schwartz was a member of the Jewish Sports Review’s 2010 College Football All-America Team, received Cal’s Brick Muller Award as its Most Valuable Offensive Lineman for the second straight year, and won Cal’s Andy Smith Award as its player with the most Big “C” time. He was also an honorable mention Pac-10 All-Academic selection for the third consecutive season.

In 2011, Schwartz started all 13 games at left tackle. It was the fourth consecutive season in which he started each of Cal’s games. He received Cal’s Brick Muller Award as its Most Valuable Offensive Lineman for the third straight season and received a Cort Majors Captains Award on offense. He was on the watch lists for the Outland Trophy and the Rotary Lombardi Award. He was voted first-team All-Pac-12.

At the 2012 Senior Bowl, he started at right tackle for the winning North team.

Professional Career

Schwartz was drafted in the second round with the 37th overall pick by the Cleveland Browns in the 2012 NFL Draft. He signed a four-year contract with the Browns in May 2012, for $5.17 million.

From 2012-2016, Schwartz started all 16 games for the Browns, and played all offensive snaps. In 2013, He and the Browns faced his brother’s team, the Chiefs, and the two became the first Jewish siblings to play against each other in NFL history.

On March 9, 2016, Schwartz signed a five-year, $33 million contract with the Kansas City Chiefs, making him one of the highest-paid right tackles in the NFL. At the conclusion on the 2016 season, he had started all 96 games of his first six years, without missing a snap. He was named to the Associated Press All-Pro Second Team.

In the 2017 season, he started in all 16 games and the Wild Card Round loss to the Tennessee Titans. Schwartz was named to the Associated Press All-Pro Second Team.

In the 2018 season, Schwartz started in all 16 games and the two playoff games for the Chiefs. Pro Football Focus gave him the Bruce Matthews Award as the NFL’s top offensive lineman and he was named a First Team All-Pro by the Associated Press.

On June 12, 2019, Schwartz signed a one-year contract extension with the Chiefs through the 2021 season for $11.255 million, making him the second-highest paid right tackle in the NFL. He was named to the Associated Press All-Pro Second Team, and to the 2019 Pro Football Writers of America All-AFC Team. He was also named to the CBS Sports’ NFL All-Decade Team. He was inducted into the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.

Schwartz won his first Super Bowl when the Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV in 2020.

In November 2019, Schwartz started his 122nd-consecutive game, behind only Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (218 games) and Baltimore cornerback Brandon Carr (184). Schwartz suffered a back injury prior to Week 6 of the 2020 season, forcing him to miss a snap for the first time in 7,894 games. 

The injury ultimately cut his career short. Schwartz’s last NFL game was Oct. 19, 2020. He was released by the Chiefs in March 2021, just two weeks after undergoing back surgery.

His brother, offensive guard Geoff, played in the NFL for four different teams. Geoff and Mitchell were the first Jewish brothers to play in the NFL since Ralph Horween and Arnold Horween, in 1923. In 2016, they wrote a book together, Eat My Schwartz: Our Story of NFL Football, Food, Family, and Faith.

His father, speaking of the fact that he had two sons playing in the National Football League, said: “I just kvell.” His mother, commenting on having two sons play football, said: “I started out worrying that they were going to get hurt, but then I realized it was the other players I should be worrying about. They were like trucks hitting small cars. And I started to kind of feel like maybe this was their destiny.”

Schwartz announced his retirement in July 2022. “I’ve enjoyed so much about my time in the NFL and am walking away feeling very fulfilled,” he said. “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.”

Source: “Mitchell Schwartz,” Wikipedia.
Jacob Gurvis, “Jewish Super Bowl champion Mitchell Schwartz retires from the NFL,” JTA, (July 15, 2022).

Photo: Jeffrey Beall, This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.