SALT LAKE CITY — Former University of Utah quarterback Alex Smith announced his retirement from the NFL Monday after a 16-year career that saw him come back from a devastating injury.
Smith made the announcement in an emotional video posted to his Instagram account.
"Even though I've got plenty of snaps left in me, after 16 years of giving this game everything I've got, I can't wait to see what else is possible," said Smith. "But first, I'll take a little time to enjoy a few of those walks with my wife, and my kids have no idea what's coming for them in the backyard."
Smith starred for the Utes for two seasons before being taken with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers.
After five seasons with the Niners, Smith was traded to Kansas City where he was elected to his first Pro Bowl following the 2013 season.
Smith was traded to Washington in 2018 and signed a four-year contract with the Redskins. But his career was derailed when he suffered a severe leg injury during a game against Houston on Nov. 18.
During his recovery, Smith's injury turned life-threatening due to an infection that caused sepsis, forcing him to undergo 17 more surgeries.
"Two years ago, I was stuck in a wheelchair staring down at my mangled leg wondering if I'd ever be able to go on a walk with my wife again or play games with my kids in the yard," said Smith in the video. "Putting my helmet back on was the farthest thing from my mind. I kept asking myself, 'All this for a stupid game?'"
After nearly two years, Smith returned to the field in 2020 when he came in as an injury replacement. Smith then started six more games and finished with a 5-1 record and was named the NFLs Comeback Player of the Year.
Despite his remarkable comeback story, the Redskins released Smith in March.
In an interview Monday with ESPN, Smith said he considered signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars to play for his old college coach Urban Meyer, but ultimately decided to retire.
"I was ready, I am ready, and like I said, I am so excited about what else is out there, and most of all, to experience it with my family."