Kansas City Chiefs: Mitchell Schwartz is NFL's new ironman

By The Sports Xchange  |  Oct. 27, 2017 at 12:53 PM
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas saw his ironman streak of consecutive snaps for an offensive lineman come to an end Sunday, leaving former teammate and current Kansas City Chiefs right tackle Mitchell Schwartz atop the list.

"As a lineman you pride yourself on being out there at all times and obviously there's a lot of luck involved in that," Schwartz said "Just the nature of football; it's easy to get rolled up on and easy to get injured and I'm fortunate that hasn't happened. You just go out there and try to do your best every play and try to make yourself available on every play."

Thomas' luck ran out during Cleveland's 12-9 loss to the Titans. The 11-year veteran left the game with a torn triceps. Thomas played every offensive snap of his NFL career before the injury, spanning 10,363 snaps over 167 games since 2007.

The closest call for the streaks of both Thomas and Schwartz ending may have come in 2014 during the Browns' 21-3 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. A substitute for Thomas ran out to the huddle during a timeout.

"They sent a lineman to the field and everyone was kind of wondering what's going on," Schwartz recalled, "and he's like, 'Joe, you're out,' and Joe's like, 'No.' And he's like, 'No, the coach said to come get you,' and Joe's like, 'No, that's not happening, you should go back.' So he went on back."

When the offense returned to the bench, offensive line coach Andy Moeller greeted his group.

"We played that series, we went back to the bench, and our offensive line coach was like, 'Never seen that before,'" Schwartz said. "That's really the only time it's been close."

Schwartz has played every snap of the first 87 games of his career for the Browns and Chiefs. His streak of 5,891 snaps puts him a little more than halfway toward Thomas' mark. That pace puts Schwartz about 66 games away from matching the streak of Thomas. He said he has not spoken with head coach Andy Reid or offensive line coach Andy Heck about remaining in the game in the event of a blowout or an end-of-the-season scenario where the starters may rest.

"If you're out there at a substandard level and it affects the team, you wouldn't want to see that happen," Schwartz said. "There is an element of being smart about it if a situation does arise, but I think overall as linemen, you always feel like you really want to be out there."

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