Vikings’ Cameron Smith, 24, retires from NFL after missing 2020 season recovering from heart surgery

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Cameron Smith was a fifth-round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 2019, and more than two years later the linebacker has announced he is retiring from the NFL.

Smith, 24, played in the Vikings’ preseason game Saturday against the Denver Broncos but left the game with a concussion.

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On Wednesday, he announced on Instagram he was retiring.

“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,” he wrote on Instagram.

“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 I 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.”

Smith had eight tackles in five games during the 2019 season.

In 2020, he spent the year recovering from open-heart surgery to repair a congenital heart defect that was discovered after he tested positive for coronavirus.

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