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Vikings LB Cam Smith Announces Retirement A Year After Open Heart Surgery

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Minnesota Vikings linebacker Cameron Smith, who missed the 2020 season after having open heart surgery, has announced his retirement from the NFL.

"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," Smith wrote in an Instagram post. "Ultimately, I've decided that I've been asking for it to do too much."

"Wishing you nothing but the best, Cam," the Vikings said on Twitter.

The Vikings drafted Smith in the fifth round of the 2019 draft out of the University of Southern California. He played mostly on special teams as a rookie, appearing in five games and logging 8 tackles.

Smith announced in August 2020 that he needed open heart surgery to fix a bicuspid aortic valve he was born with. He said the heart condition was discovered after he tested positive for COVID-19 when he reported to training camp.

"I know this transition isn't going to be easy, but I am excited to tackle this next chapter in my life with the same passion and pursuit that I did football," Smith said. "I am grateful for, and will forever cherish, the many opportunities that have been given to me through football."

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