Mitchell Schwartz now has NFL's longest consecutive snap streak

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Mitchell Schwartz knows that as an NFL offensive lineman there's an element of luck in avoiding injury, major or minor, for 5 1/2 seasons. That has allowed the Kansas City Chiefs right tackle to be on the field for every one of his team's offensive snaps for his entire career.

For confirmation, all he needs to do is look to his left along the Chiefs' offensive line, where center Mitch Morse has missed the past five games and guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif the past three because of injuries.

Schwartz is believed to have the NFL's longest active consecutive play streak, which is 5,536, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Schwartz inherited the honor when tackle Joe Thomas, his former teammate with the Cleveland Browns, was knocked out of last week's game with his streak at more than 10,000 snaps.

"As a lineman you pride yourself on being out there at all times," Schwartz said. "There's a lot of luck involved with that. Just the nature of football -- it's easy to get rolled up on and easy to get injured. I've been fortunate that hasn't happened."

Schwartz was in the starting lineup for his first game as a rookie with the Browns in 2012 and he hasn't been out of the game on offense since. He joined the Chiefs last season as a free agent.

The only thing resembling a close call came last season, when he missed the first couple of practices of the week before a midseason game against the Colts because of a sprained ankle.

He was listed as questionable for the game on the week's final injury report. But of course he answered the bell come game day.

"You always get dinged up and you have things happen, but there's never been a time where I was doubting I would be out there," Schwartz said. "Even in the middle of a game you get your bumps and bruises and 'Oh, that feels a little sore. I'm sure that will hurt more tomorrow than it does today.' But you just keep rolling."

There was a Thursday night game with the Browns in 2014 when his streak appeared in jeopardy. The Browns had a big lead late in the game when they sent a replacement out on the field.

"We were up pretty big and the line was on the field during a timeout," Schwartz said. "They sent [from the sideline] a lineman to the field and everybody was just kind of wondering what's going on. He was like [to Thomas], 'Joe, you're out.' Joe was like, 'Uh, no, that's not happening.'

"We played that series and went back to the bench. Our line coach was like, 'Mitch, do you want to come out?' I was like, 'No, I'll stay in.' That's really been the only time it's been close."

Schwartz said he hasn't told Chiefs coach Andy Reid or offensive line coach Andy Heck he would prefer to stay in the game no matter the situation. That's just understood, not because of his streak but because of the position he plays.

"You feel the responsibility to your teammates to be out there if you can," Schwartz said. "Obviously, if you can't, you don't want to put the team at risk or put yourself at risk. If you're out there at a substandard level and that affects the team, you wouldn't want to see that happen.

"There is an element of being smart about it if a situation does arise, but as a lineman you always feel like you really want to be out there."