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NFL: Alex Smith retires from NFL after 16 seasons

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Alex Smith, the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year in 2020, announced his retirement on Monday in a video posted to Instagram, 16 years after he was the first pick in the NFL draft.

Smith led the Washington Football Team into the playoffs more than two years after the devastating injury he sustained in Week 11 of the 2018 season. He required 17 surgeries to save his leg, repair the injury and fight a life-threatening infection.

In his retirement video, he reflected on the hard work it took to return to the NFL last season after nearly two years away and the thoughts that went through his mind — would he ever be able to take a walk with his wife of play with his three children? — in the aftermath of the injury.

“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,” Smith said. “But first, I’m going to take a little time to enjoy a few of those walks with my wife, and my kids have no idea what’s coming for them in the backyard.”

Washington released him last month. Smith became a free agent, and the move saved the club nearly $15 million against the 2021 salary cap.

Smith, who turns 37 next month, started the 2020 season as Washington’s third-string quarterback. The team turned to Kyle Allen after Dwayne Haskins was ineffective, and Smith took over after Allen suffered a season-ending injury in Week 9.

He played in eight regular-season games, starting six, and completed 168 of 252 passes (66.7 percent) for 1,582 yards and six touchdowns. He was unable to play in Washington’s wild-card loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because of a calf injury.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by San Francisco, Smith was 99-67-1 as a starter and passed for 35,650 yards and 199 touchdowns in 174 games with the 49ers (2005-12), Kansas City Chiefs (2014-17) and Washington.

“To everyone out there, whether you’re a part of Niner Nation, the Chiefs Kingdom or the Burgundy and Gold, I thank you,” Smith said. “To all the men I had the privilege of standing with and playing alongside, thank you. I want to say thank you for believing in me and thank you for helping me believe in myself. And in the impossible.”

–Field Level Media

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