Malcolm Mitchell

Ex-Patriot Malcolm Mitchell opens up about post-NFL 'grieving phase'

Ex-Patriot Malcolm Mitchell opens up about post-NFL 'grieving phase'

The 2019 New England Patriots have a loaded wide receiver corps.

And Malcolm Mitchell was supposed to be a part of it.

A fourth-round pick out of Georgia in 2016, Mitchell seemed poised for a solid career after catching six passes for 70 yards as a rookie in New England's Super Bowl LI win over the Atlanta Falcons.

A knee injury sidelined Mitchell for the entire 2017, though, and he never returned to full strength. He was waived by the Patriots last August and retired from the NFL in March at age 26.

In a recent interview with NBC Sports' Tim Layden, Mitchell candidly discussed how challenging it was to have football suddenly taken away from him.

"I guess I knew I would have this breakup with football, someday," Mitchell told Layden. "I just didn’t know how bad it would be on my mental health. It’s like I’ve been reincarnated, as somebody else. And I don’t want to be anybody else.

"I have to move on. I know that. I have to come out of this grieving phase, and I’m working on that. I can’t stay here, because if I do, I’m as good as dead."

That's pretty powerful stuff, especially from someone like Mitchell, whose talents aren't limited to football. The Georgia native published his own children's book in 2016 and released two short films on his Instagram page in August detailing his struggle with post-NFL life.

Mitchell isn't alone in the fight, either, as he joins a growing number of NFL players forced to retire early who are grappling with their identities in their "second lives."

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Former Patriots WR Malcolm Mitchell releases emotional short film on post-NFL life

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USA TODAY Sports

Former Patriots WR Malcolm Mitchell releases emotional short film on post-NFL life

Malcolm Mitchell's life after football has not been easy.

His NFL career started out with so much promise after being drafted by the New England Patriots in 2016. Mitchell, as a rookie, played an important role in the team's historic Super Bowl LI comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons with six receptions for 70 yards.

Unfortunately for Mitchell, the good times following that Super Bowl victory didn't last. Injuries forced him to miss all of the 2017 and 2018 seasons, and he ultimately decided to retire in March

Mitchell released Tuesday part one of a short film named "TREASURE BOX." It highlights his life after football, and Mitchell is very honest in the film.

Check out the first installment in the Instagram post below:

https://www.instagram.com/p/B1XGYsZBpl-/

Knee injuries cost Mitchell an opportunity for a long career, but he made quite a mark in his lone season for the Patriots, and those Super Bowl LI memories certainly will last a lifetime.

New study finds Pats have second-easiest path to Super Bowl LIV>>> 

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Bill Belichick's Top 20 shrewdest draft trades

Bill Belichick's Top 20 shrewdest draft trades

No team has more than draft picks in this month's draft than the Patriots, who own 12 selections, including six in the first 101 picks.

But don't expect Bill Belichick to come out of the draft with a dozen new players. Since Belichick took over in Foxboro, no team has trafed more picks during the draft than the Pats.

How many? Try a whopping 71 deals, including eight last year, tying the high-water mark they set way back in 2003. Sometimes the Patriots package picks and move up; sometimes they trade down and add capital in future drafts.

But over the years, all of those swaps have yielded a host of Pro Bowlers and cogs of future Super Bowl championship teams.

Tom E. Curran has looked back at all the trades and ranks Belichick's 20 shrewdest draft deals.

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