The miraculous return to the NFL by Alex Smith will never be forgotten, but after helping keep the Washington Football Team relevant en route to winning the NFC East in 2020 the veteran quarterback has announced his retirement from the league just ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft. A free agent after having been released this offseason, it was unclear whether Smith would call it a career or look to sign on with another club. One club that was hoping he chose to stick around was the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Today's news throws a tad bit of a wrench in the Jaguars' potential plan at quarterback, considering head coach Urban Meyer was hoping to woo Smith to North Florida.
Meyer, who coached Smith at Utah, didn't want anyone ruling out the Jaguars as a landing spot.
"I wanted him here," Meyer said of Smith, via USAToday.com. "You know, we talked to him about joining here. He's had a tough injury. Of all the players I've ever coached, and I would tell people this when people didn't know how tough he was, he's one of the toughest cats I've ever been around."
There were several options that make sense, including playing backup to Dak Prescott for the Dallas Cowboys -- Prescott having recently noted how Smith inspired him in his own recovery from severe injury -- but the existing relationship between Smith and Meyer made for an intriguing possible reunion. And while Meyer isn't being coy about the Jaguars "heading toward" selecting Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, that doesn't answer the question of who'll play QB2, with Gardner Minshew reportedly being placed on the trade block.
Fact is, there was not only room for Smith in North Florida, but also a lot of motivation to put him in a Jaguars uniform. The reigning NFL Comeback Player of the Year, whom newly hired general manager Trent Baalke also knows well from their time together with the San Francisco 49ers, recently spoke to the Jaguars.
" ... We had conversations with him," Meyer said. "There are some medical people in our organization that were very concerned. And remember, our GM actually drafted Alex at San Francisco. So you have two people in Jacksonville that love Alex.
"It was that was deeper than a player, now. He's like our family. Both of us feel so strongly about them. But that's something that we're just going to keep an eye on because I hope he comes back."
With Smith's decision to end his NFL career, the Jaguars will have to make other plans.