Former Patriots wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell announces retirement

Mitchell caught five passes late in the Patriots' comeback win in Super Bowl LI.

Malcolm Mitchell
Former Patriots wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell after a practice ahead of Super Bowl LI. –AP Photo/Steven Senne

Two years after catching five fourth-quarter passes in the Patriots’ comeback in Super Bowl LI, wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell is leaving the NFL for his next chapter.

Mitchell struggled with lingering knee injuries and was limited to a single preseason game after his heroics in the Patriots’ last-gasp victory over the Atlanta Falcons. He announced his retirement Friday during a TED Talk at his alma mater, the University of Georgia.

“Everything will work out,” the 25-year-old wrote on Instagram. “The world has a knack for correcting itself.”

The Patriots drafted Mitchell in the fourth round in 2016. He had a productive rookie season (476 yards and four touchdowns) capped by a star turn in the Super Bowl. Mitchell caught five passes for 63 yards in the fourth quarter as New England erased a 28-3 deficit, including an 11-yard gain on 3rd and 10 to keep a touchdown drive alive.

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The Super Bowl would be his last meaningful NFL game. Mitchell spent the entire 2017-18 season on injured reserve and was released in August following another knee procedure.

“I don’t know how he could have put any more into it than he did,” Bill Belichick said after the Patriots waived the wideout.

Mitchell will now turn his attention to his Share the Magic foundation and career as a children’s book author. During his junior year at Georgia, Malcolm tore his ACL and developed a love of reading as he recovered. The hobby soon led to youth literacy programs, a women’s book club, and even his own book: The Magician’s Hat.