Nearly 16 years after Alex Smith was drafted with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, the veteran quarterback announced he is retiring from the National Football League.
Drafted by the San Francisco 49ers on April 23, Smith battled his way through injuries and early struggles to redeem his NFL career. After heavily weighing his future and whether or not he would return for his 17th season, the 36-year-old quarterback posted his retirement announcement Monday on Instagram.
Alex Smith stats and career overview
Smith’s start with the 49ers didn’t go well. In his first three seasons, Smith held an 11-19 record across 30 starts with a 19-31 TD-INT ratio, a 63.5 passer rating and he completed just 54.5% of his passes. After missing the 2008 season with a back injury, Smith only returned to the 49ers the following year after agreeing to a pay cut.
He started to show flashes of his true abilities in each of the next two seasons, but it didn’t all come together until San Francisco hired Jim Harbaugh. Under Harbaugh’s direction, Smith’s career was rejuvenated and the 49ers became Super Bowl contenders.
- Alex Smith stats (2011-’12): 19-5-1 record, 64.3% completion rate, 4,881 passing yards, 30-15 TD-INT ratio and 95.1 passer rating in 25 starts
The emergence of Colin Kaepernick, sparked by Smith missing significant time after suffering a concussion, led to a change in San Francisco. On Feb. 27, 2013, the 49ers traded Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs for a 2013 second-round pick and a conditional 2014 pick. He quickly got comfortable in Kansas City, before being replaced by Patrick Mahomes after the 2017 season.
- Alex Smith stats (2013-’17): 50-26 record, 65.1% completion rate, 17,608 passing yards, 102-33 TD-INT ratio and a 94.8 passer rating in 76 starts
Smith was traded to the Washington Football Team in January 2018 for cornerback Kyle Fuller and the 78th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He instantly became the starter, posting a 6-4 record, completing 62.5% of his passes and a 10-5 TD-INT ratio.
Sadly, everything changed on Nov. 18, 2018. Smith suffered a spiral and compound fracture to his tibia and fibula and later had his life hang in the balance due to sepsis in the wound. After more than a dozen surgeries, which amputation at one point considered, Smith made a full recovery and returned to the field this season.
Smith earned three Pro Bowl selections in his career and won the NFL Comeback Player of the Year this past season. While he won’t be a Hall of Famer, his career will be remembered.