Former Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is hanging up his cleats for good. On Monday, the 36-year-old announced his retirement with a tear-jerking video posted to his newly-created Instagram.
“Two years ago I was stuck in a wheelchair, staring down at my mangled leg, wondering if I would ever be able to go on a walk again or play with my kids in the yard,” Smith said. “On a routine play, I almost lost everything. But football wouldn’t let me give up. Because, no, this isn’t just a game. It’s not just what happens between those white lines on a Sunday afternoon. It’s about the challenges and the commitment they require. It’s about how hard and how far you can push yourself. It’s about the bond between those 53 guys in the locker room and everybody else in the organization. It’s about fully committing yourself to something bigger.”
Alongside his remarks are short clips and photos of his remarkable recovery since nearly losing his leg following a devastating injury in November 2018 against the Houston Texans as a member of the Washington Football Team.
Smith also thanked his teammates, trainers, fans and everyone else who supported him throughout his 16 years in the league. Before revealing his next steps, he smiled into the camera and simply uttered, “I’m going to take a little time to enjoy a few walks with my wife, and my kids have no idea what’s coming for them in the backyard.”
A pivotal member of the Chiefs’ rebuilding process during the Andy Reid era, Smith was selected as the first overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft, playing from 2005 to 2012 with the San Francisco 49ers before taking his talents to Kansas City between 2013 to 2017. He closed out his illustrious career in Washington.
Could Smith Be Andy Reid’s Latest Coaching Protege?
Kansas City head coach Andy Reid was informed of Smith’s retirement while addressing the media late Monday morning, and had the perfect response for his former star QB. In fact, Big Red went on to say he calls “dibs” on the father of three should he decide to eventually venture into coaching.
Andy Reid on Alex Smith: "He's a heck of a person, had a great career. Everywhere he went he made them better. If he gets in the coaching I got first dibs on him. Special person, go down as one of my all time favorites." #Chiefs
— Harold R. Kuntz (@HaroldRKuntz3) April 19, 2021
“He’s a heck of a person, had a great career. Everywhere he went he made them better,” Fox4 KC sports reporter Harold R Kuntz tweeted. “If he gets in the coaching I got first dibs on him. Special person, go down as one of my all time favorites.”
During his tenure at Arrowhead Stadium, Smith reached 14,280 yards on 1,290 completions and 81 touchdowns. The Washington state native also notched three Pro Bowl selections during his time with the Chiefs and led the NFL in passer rating for the 2017 season.
Smith’s Comeback Player of the Year Speech Was Remarkable
If you needed any indication of Smith’s dedication to the sport, then his remarks after winning Comeback Player of the Year at the 2021 NFL Honors proves his tenacity and grit. After recounting his original thoughts while being carted off the field, channeling that anger into motivation to one day suit up again for his side.
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) February 7, 2021
“My goal was football, not because I actually thought it was a reality, but because I knew my life would be better because of it. Fighting the fear surrounding my new leg with the pursuit of something bigger and a life lived without regret. It took 728 days. 728 days of small victories and major setbacks, of countless hours of physical therapy and just as many sleepless nights.”
Offering words of advice in his closing remarks, Smith reminded viewers to “honor every single day.”
“To anyone out there going through hard times, know better days lie ahead. Embrace all that life has to offer; there are no ups without the downs. Honor every single day and remember, ‘Just live.'”