Quarterback Alex Smith announced on Instagram Monday that he is hanging up his cleats after an inspiring 16-year NFL career. The reigning Comeback Player of the Year was sidelined from a gruesome injury that took place in November of 2018, and, despite the chances he could lose his leg or never walk again, Smith managed to make it back on the field in 2020.
The 36 year old shared a video of his NFL journey, including clips from his famous injury recovery, to break the news. Smith said at first, after seriously hurting his leg, returning to football was the last thing on his mind. That all changed when someone put a football back in his hand during his recovery. He talked about how it is more than a game to him and that soon, returning became a challenge he was facing head on.
"To all the men I had the pleasure of standing with and playing alongside, thank you," Smith said. "I want to say thank you for believing in me and thank you for helping me believe in myself and in the impossible. Because even though I've got plenty of snaps left in me after 16 years of giving this game everything I've got, I can't wait to see what else is possible."
The former first overall pick said for now, he's going to enjoy some time with his family.
Following his announcement, support flooded in from those all around the sports world, commending Smith for his impressive career and comeback. Here are some of those reactions:
Patrick Mahomes on Alex Smith retiring: “With the injury he had, to lead his team to the playoffs. That shows you the player he is. I’m just grateful for the time I had with him. He really helped me be the quarterback I am today." pic.twitter.com/rFvDeDRMqz— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) April 19, 2021
Largest of shoutouts to Alex Smith— Kyle (@Ky1eLong) April 19, 2021