The trade of Alex Smith from the Kansas City Chiefs to the Washington Redskins will be made official Wednesday afternoon. The deal was agreed to back in mid February, but can’t be announced until the start of the new league year.
Preparing for himself to be introduced as the new face of the Redskins’ franchise, Smith took to The Players’ Tribune on Tuesday in a passionate essay thanking both the Chiefs and their fans.
“Just seeing how dedicated Chiefs fans are, it always instilled a sense of pride in me to put on that jersey and go out and play for them,” Smith said. “I don’t think that’s always the case in pro sports, and I never took that for granted during my five years in Kansas City. I’m going to miss that.”
Smith also made sure fans knew just how much he appreciated the experience of heading to Arrowhead Stadium every Sunday.
“I’m going to miss pulling into Arrowhead and snaking through the thousands of tailgaters that make up Chiefs Kingdom,” Smith wrote. “As a quarterback, you arrive to the stadium pretty early on game day. And when I’d get to Arrowhead, the parking lot would already be full. Honestly, if you show up to tailgate in Kansas City at 8:30 a.m., you’re already late to the party. And I can tell you that after 13 seasons and playing in nearly every NFL stadium, not every city is like that.”
It’s not a surprise that Smith would point to the fans themselves first. Anyone who has ever taken in a game or covered a game at Arrowhead knows just how electric the atmosphere is. That electricity pays off with a tremendous home-field advantage.
Smith also focused on his final season with the Chiefs.
“Going into this past season, I pretty much knew,” Smith said. “I mean, I had to know, right? With everything I’ve experienced so far in my career, I probably understand the ‘business’ of football as well as anyone. And trading up to take a quarterback in the draft isn’t exactly a subtle move as to the future of a franchise. It was pretty obvious what that meant for me.”
The Pro Bowler is referring to Kansas City trading up for young quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He knew heading into the season that it would be his final with the Chiefs.
In five seasons with the Chiefs, Smith threw 102 touchdowns compared to just 33 interceptions and led the team to four playoff appearances. He’ll now try to duplicate that success with a Redskins team that has played postseason football just twice over the past decade.