In a statement released on Monday, Rivera congratulated Smith on his career. He described Smith as “the ultimate professional” and a fine leader. Rivera said he felt personally inspired by Smith’s incredible comeback story.
“I want to congratulate Alex Smith on a great career,” Rivera said. “He was the ultimate professional and one of the finest leaders I’ve ever had the privilege to coach. His resilience and work ethic will serve as an example for our team as we continue to build a winning program here in Washington. He is an inspiration to me personally and to the countless others who followed his journey these past few years. I wish Alex and his family all the best as they embark on this next chapter of their lives.”
Smith went 5-1 as a starter for Washington in 2020, leading them to the NFC East crown in the process. An injury kept him from participating in that playoff game, but he still won Comeback Player of the Year.
Statement from head coach Ron Rivera on the retirement of Alex Smith pic.twitter.com/FjJRj4DLuN
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) April 19, 2021
Alex Smith suffered a severe leg injury during the 2018 NFL season. It required dozens of surgeries to fully heal and months of rehab afterwards.
But Smith made his triumphant return to the field this past year and did just enough to get Washington into the postseason.
His comeback story is one of the all-time greats in NFL history. Smith won’t be forgotten for it.