He leaves on a high note with a 16-year career.
Oftentimes in the NFL, serious physical injuries can completely silence a player’s career. Even if they’re only laid up temporarily, football is a very physically demanding sport. A broken leg could keep an athlete out of action for well over a month, and by that time, their bodies have likely lost some of their crucial muscle definition. Not only that, but severe injuries can cause permanent chronic pain that makes physical exertion a no-go. However, one NFL player, who announced his retirement today, proved that an injury is not always an absolute career-ender.
Alex Smith, veteran quarterback for the still-unnamed Washington Football Team, announced in an Instagram video that he is retiring from the sport. Two years ago, Smith’s leg was severely injured during a game, taking him off the field for a lengthy recovery and rehab. For some players, that might’ve been the end of the road, but for Smith, the siren song of the game was too powerful for him to let it end there.
“Two years ago I was stuck in a wheelchair, staring down at my mangled leg, wondering if I would ever be able to go on a walk again or play with my kids in the yard,” Smith said. “On a routine play, I almost lost everything. But football wouldn’t let me give up. Because, no, this isn’t just a game. It’s not just what happens between those white lines on a Sunday afternoon. It’s about the challenges and the commitment they require. It’s about how hard and how far you can push yourself. It’s about the bond between those 53 guys in the locker room and everybody else in the organization. It’s about fully committing yourself to something bigger.”
Smith is content to end his career while he’s still in good physical condition, as he’d rather it not be due to another critical injury. Considering he managed to come back to the game after such a nasty hit, I’d say he’s earned the right to end things on his own terms.