After winning the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award following a two year rehabilitation from a gruesome leg injury, former Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith retired on Monday morning. Smith made the announcement in a video posted to his Instagram account, ending his 16 year NFL career.
"I was a skinny, no-name recruit who wasn't even supposed to play in college," said Smith in the video. "And then, on a routine play, I almost lost everything. But football wouldn't let me give up."
Smith came all the way back from a severely broken leg suffered in a game on November 18, 2018 against the Houston Texans. An infection resulting from the injury nearly cost Smith his leg but he eventually recovered fully after two years of rehabilitation. Smith made his return to the NFL with the Washington Football Team in 2020, eventually throwing for 1,582 yards and 6 touchdowns in 8 games.
"No, this isn't just a game," said Smith. "This isn't just about what happens between those white lines on a Sunday afternoon. It's about the challenges and the commitment they require."
Smith faced plenty of challenges in his 16 year NFL career. After being drafted number 1 overall out of Utah in the 2005 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers, Smith missed the entire 2008 season due to a shoulder injury. He eventually lost his starting job to Colin Kaepernick before moving to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013. Kansas City is where Smith arguably found his greatest success from 2013 to 2017, making the Pro Bowl three times and leading the Chiefs to the Playoffs in 4 of his 5 seasons as the team's signal-caller. He gave way to new starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes following the 2017 season and moved on to Washington.
"To everyone out there, whether you're a part of 'Niner Nation', the Chiefs Kingdom or the Burgundy and Gold I thank you," said Smith. "To all the men I've had the privilege of standing with and playing alongside, thank you."
"After 16 years of giving this everything I've got, I want to see what else is possible."
Smith concluded by saying he plans to take some time off immediately after his retirement announcement to spend time with his family.