Alex Smith proved a lot last year with one of the most unlikely comebacks from injury in NFL history. It seemed like he was going to try to extend that comeback a little longer after being released by Washington, but the reality of his situation has finally made the decision for him. Alex Smith announced his retirement from the NFL today, and his career that started by being selected #1 overall in 2005 is officially over.
Statement from Dan and Tanya Snyder on the retirement of Alex Smith pic.twitter.com/w6FPiWFyCP— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) April 19, 2021
Statement from head coach Ron Rivera on the retirement of Alex Smith pic.twitter.com/FjJRj4DLuN— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) April 19, 2021
Alex Smith came to the Washington via trade in 2018. He had been the starter for the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs before taking over the job for the Redskins. He led the team to a 6-3 in his first year with the team, before a bad game vs the Houston Texans took a horrible turn no one saw coming. Smith broke his leg, and was immediately taken to the hospital for surgery. He broke his tibia and fibula and suffered a spiral fracture that broke through the skin. This surgery turned into a life-threatening series of events with infections that led to 17 surgeries and suggestions that his leg should be amputated.
Smith’s journey through recovery was documented in an ESPN documentary that showed how bad the injury really was. The visuals were disturbing, but the one thing most people got out of this was Smith’s determination to not only walk, but run back to the football field. Reports started last year that Smith was working out with the team again. People, including myself, still said there was no way that Smith would play again. Good effort, but not happening. This included people in the Washington organization, but Smith convinced them that he could still play, and then doctors cleared him.
Smith started the 2020 season as QB3, and rode the bench until starter Dwayne Haskins Jr. was got pulled and demoted. It didn’t take long before Smith saw the field after becoming the backup behind Kyle Allen. When Allen went down with a season-ending ankle injury, Smith became the starter, and led the team to 5-1 record, and an NFC East division title. Smith’s leg became an issue late in the season, and he didn’t play in Washington’s playoff loss to the Buccaneers. Smith didn’t commit to his future after last season, so Washington started moving on with other options, including trading for other veteran QBs. He won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award. Then Smith got his release, and seemed to be exploring options with other teams. Nothing came through, and Smith has now officially called game.