One of the better stories of the 2021 preseason for the Minnesota Vikings was the comeback of linebacker Cameron Smith. Smith underwent open-heart surgery last preseason after an issue was discovered with his heart during an examination connected to COVID, but made his return to the field in Saturday’s loss to the Denver Broncos, but left the game early after suffering a concussion.
This evening, Smith has announced on his Instagram page that he is now retiring from the National Football League.
Smith was a fifth-round pick of the Vikings in the 2019 NFL Draft out of Southern California. He played sparingly as a rookie, spending most of the season on the practice squad with one promotion to the active roster.
This comes as a pretty big surprise, as it seemed that Smith was incredibly excited to get back on the field after what happened in 2020. The fact that he managed to come all the way back after going through what he did is a testament to his ability and toughness, that much is certain.
We wish all the best to Cameron Smith in whatever it is that he decides to pursue next.
Here is Smith’s statement in its entirety, thanks to our own Eric Thompson:
Cam Smith has announced his retirement on Instagram. Wishing him nothing but the best in his next chapter of life after what has been an incredibly harrowing year. pic.twitter.com/kAVKItpBzO— Eric Thompson (@eric_j_thompson) August 18, 2021
For the past 18 years, football has been such a tremendous part of my life. It has provided countless friendships, incredible memories, and invaluable lessons that will last a lifetime. When I had open heart surgery last year, I grappled a lot with what I had been asking my body to do in order to play this great game. Ultimately, I’ve decided that I’ve been asking for it to do too much.
After careful consideration and thorough discussion with my friends and family, I have made the difficult decision to retire from the NFL. I know this transition isn’t going to be easy, but I am excited to tackle this next chapter of my life with the same passion and pursuit that I did football. I am grateful for, and will forever cherish, the many opportunities that have been given to me through football.
I truly appreciate the support from all of my friends, family, the entire Vikings organization, USC Athletes First and everyone who has been by my side along the way.
Thanks again, Cam.
Once again, we wish Cameron Smith nothing but the best.