Former Cal star Mitchell Schwartz reports via social media that he underwent successful back surgery on Wednesday and he expects to return to action with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2021.
“Successful surgery, now the recovery process starts,” Schwartz wrote on Twitter. “Thanks to everyone who reached out, messaged, etc today! Means a lot to me. And thanks to my wife Brooke as always for talking care of me!”
Schwartz, 31, had started every game and never missed a snap at right tackle for the first eight seasons of his NFL career — the first four with the Cleveland Browns, the next four in KC — since being drafted out of Cal in 2012.
A 2018 first-team All-Pro, Schwartz had his streak of 134 consecutive regular-season starts ended this past season after sustaining a back injury against the Buffalo Bills in Week 6. He did not play the rest of the season and eventually was placed on injured reserve.
On Wednesday, before surgery, he posted, "It's time to address the issue since it isn't going away on its own. The recovery process isn't too long, hence being able to wait until now to do it, otherwise I would have done this earlier.”
He also explained why he delayed the procedure until after the season.
"I was hoping to recover enough during the season to get back on the field, especially for the playoffs and Super Bowl, but that never happened," Schwartz wrote on his Instagram account.
Schwartz, a starter on the team that won the Super Bowl a year ago, sounded entirely optimistic that he will be able to return to his previous form.
"Looking forward to a healthy 2021!" he wrote.
For some additional context, here’s what Joshua Brisco of FanNation’s Arrowhead Report wrote on SI.com:
Here's the short version: If Mitchell Schwartz returns to the 2021 Kansas City Chiefs and returns to his 2019 form, this will be the best news the Chiefs get all offseason. Better than their future draft picks, any free agent signing, any trade, any upgrades to Arrowhead Stadium.
Schwartz (again, if healthy) completely and dynamically changes what the Chiefs' offensive line will look like next year. In fact, last offseason, I remember having a conversation about the Chiefs' most valuable offensive players outside of Patrick Mahomes. Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill were the consensus first and second non-Mahomes players to go off the board, then it was Schwartz third. At his best, Schwartz can be left one-on-one with any edge-rusher in the sport and allow the offense to give some extra help to the less-trusted linemen, also allowing longer-developing routes to find their footing.
Cover photo of Mitchell Schwartz by Mark J. Rebelias, USA Today
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo