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After 16 years, it’s the end of the road for Alex Smith. The longtime 49ers quarterback announced his retirement on Monday in a post on his wife, Elizabeth’s Instagram account. The former No. 1 overall pick from the University of Utah had one of the more trying and unique careers in NFL history.
He was dealt a season-ending broken shoulder in 2008, and was dealt myriad coaching changes in his young career. He made the playoffs with the 49ers for the first in 2011 on the back of this iconic, Joe-Staley-led touchdown run to send the 49ers to the NFC Championship game.
You think you've seen it all.
— #Random49ers (@Random49ers) April 30, 2020
Smith ended up losing his job the following season to Colin Kaepernick after suffering a concussion and being forced to watch the Super Bowl as an onlooker. The next year, he was traded to Kansas City, where he made his first Pro Bowl, and two more, before losing his job to a second-year Patrick Mahomes in 2018, when he was traded to the Washington Football Team.
In 2018, Smith suffered one of the most devastating injuries in football history, nearly losing his leg as shown in an E:60 documentary. Despite all signs pointing towards his career being over, he returned last season and started six games, before having to miss Washington’s only playoff game due to tightness with his surgically-repaired leg.
In his retirement announcement, Smith pointed towards the opportunities he has outside of playing football.
“Because 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.”