After 16 seasons in the league, Alex Smith retired from the NFL on Monday. The former No. 1 overall pick had his most success with the Kansas City Chiefs.
In Smith's final season in Kansas City back in 2017, he served as the starter while mentoring rookie backup Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs went 10-6 and made the playoffs under Smith, with Mahomes taking over the reins the following year.
Mahomes paid tribute to Smith following his retirement announcement, thanking him for the impact he had on his own career.
"A tremendous guy. With the injury that he had, to lead his team to the playoffs, just shows you the player he is," Mahomes said. "I'm just grateful for the time I had with him. He really helped me develop into the quarterback I am today."
As Mahomes notes, the biggest part of Smith's story is the way he returned from a devastating broken leg suffered late in the 2018 season. Not only did the injury cost him the entire 2019 campaign, it endangered his life and almost resulted in the loss of his limb.
Somehow, Smith made it back to the field with Washington in 2020. He not only returned, but took over as the team's primary starter and helped the franchise win its first division title in five years.
Quite a sendoff for a player who leaves the NFL incredibly well-liked by his peers.