It was a banner year for Alex Smith, the quarterback and driving force behind Washington Football Team’s run to the playoffs in 2020. But it was also the final year for Smith.
Smith, who overcame a devastating leg injury to lift Washington to relevancy, was let go by the Football Team after the season. He announced his retirement Monday, following 16 seasons and three Pro Bowl appearances.
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Smith, 36, suffered a spiral and compound fracture to the tibia and fibula in his right leg in 2018 when he was sacked by Kareem Jackson and J. J. Watt of the Houston Texans. Smith later developed life-threatening necrotizing fasciitis near the surgery area, a soft-tissue disease which resulted in a whopping 17 surgeries in all.
Most people wrote Smith off after that, but he made his first appearance after the injury in Week 5 of this season vs. the Los Angeles Rams. The Football Team started 0-4, but Smith helped push them to a final mark of 7-9, good enough for Washington to win the NFL East and for Smith to earn NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors.
So this is a pretty good time for Smith to walk away. He proved he could play again and win again. And now, few NFL fans will remember him for the leg injury. They’ll remember only that he was a viable quarterback again after he recovered.