Three-time pro bowler Alex Smith retired from the NFL on Monday, ending a career the longtime quarterback played for three teams for over 16 years. Smith’s announcement sparked a lot of support – and reminded fellow QB Ryan Fitzpatrick of a funny story with Smith.
Fitzpatrick, who signed a $ 10 million one-year deal with the Washington Football Team last off-season, learned that Smith had retired while speaking with Chris Long while appearing on the Green Light podcast. Fitzpatrick had great praise for Smith, saying the former number 1 overall deserved the “Winner” label after winning with the 49ers, Chiefs and Washington Football Team.
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“It wasn’t always the 300-yard games and five touchdown passes that some of these little kids do now,” said Fitzpatrick. “But he made the team better everywhere.”
The 38-year-old then began a story of one of his “greatest regrets to date” when he texted Smith in 2018 after Smith suffered a gruesome composite fracture in his right leg. Smith’s recovery was hampered by a bacterial infection after his first surgery, and at some point medical professionals spoke to him about the possibility of an amputation of his leg.
“When Alex broke his leg in that game a few years ago, I had a similar injury. I broke my tibia with the Houston Texans in 2014,” said Fitzpatrick. “So I sent the worst text I’ve ever sent to Alex. I said, ‘Hey, Alex, I just want you to know they’ll fix you. You will be as good as new. Me I’m out here and three years later I have no more pain from my injury.
“And I sent it and felt good about it, and he said, ‘Well, mine could be a little more complicated.’ And 17 operations later and the story of what he had to overcome, I felt like the biggest hole. “
Smith made a “miracle” comeback by returning to the field in 2020, so Fitzpatrick can now laugh at the memory.
“What he did last year was amazing for him to be back on the field,” said Fitzpatrick. “And I was very happy after I sent this text that he didn’t lose his leg.”