Alex Smith underwent 17 surgeries to battle an infection after breaking his right fibula and tibia during a game in November 2018

By Jason Duaine Hahn
April 19, 2021 02:29 PM
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Alex Smith is his hanging up his jersey for good.

The longtime NFL quarterback announced his retirement on Monday morning with a video posted to his Instagram page. Smith returned to the Washington Football Team last year after he suffered a gruesome leg injury during a game in November 2018, which broke his right fibula and tibia.

Smith's situation quickly escalated after he developed a serious infection in the days following the injury. At one point, doctors even considered amputating his leg to save his life.

Smith would ultimately endure 17 surgeries and muscle and skin grafts to save his leg. Then, in October 2020, he staged one of the most remarkable comebacks in NFL history when he returned to the field for the first time since his injury.

"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, 36, said in his social media post. "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," he continued. "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."

While Smith was rightly named the 2020 NFL comeback player of the year, the Washington Football Team released him in March. The team, which Smith joined in 2018, earned a 7-9 record last season.

Smith was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2005 and played for the team until 2013 when he joined the Kansas City Chiefs. According to ESPN, he started in 167 games throughout his career, with his teams earning a 99-67-1 record during those outings.

"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 in his video.

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"But first, I'm going to take a little time to enjoy a few of those walks with my wife," the California native added of wife Elizabeth and children Hayes, 8, and Hudson, 9. "And my kids have no idea what's coming for them in the backyard."