Mahomes 'grateful' for his time with Alex Smith


Shortly after Alex Smith announced his retirement from the NFL Monday, it wasn't difficult to find people ready to say nice things about the 2020 Comeback Player of the Year

That group includes Kansas Chiefs superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who spent his rookie season behind Smith on the depth chart, learning Andy Reid's system and what it took to succeed at the highest level. The former MVP and Super Bowl champion credited Smith for his success to date thanks to the season he spent as No. 11's backup. 

"Just a tremendous guy, obviously a great player," Mahomes told reporters Monday. "He dealt with adversity throughout his career and always seemed to come out on top. He's dealt with different coaches, he's dealt with different systems and he's always had success. With the injury he had, for him to come back and lead his team to the playoffs shows the type of man that he is, the type of team player that he is, and I'm just grateful for the time that I had with him, that really helped me become the kind of quarterback that I am today."

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Whatever Smith did to bring Mahomes along, it certainly worked. After one season of sitting, Mahomes was unleased on the NFL in 2018, winning the MVP award in his first full season as a starter. A year later, he won it all to go along with a Super Bowl MVP. Then in 2020, he made it back to the Super Bowl again, but he fell to Tom Brady's Buccaneers in convincing fashion. 

Smith was traded to Washington to make room for Mahomes in Kansas City, which is where Smith finished his career. He experienced some success as Washington's starter before suffering a career-threatening leg injury midseason. Smith missed nearly two years of action before miraculously returning in 2020 and leading Washington to the postseason. 

Now, he calls it a career after 14 seasons. Smith totaled 35,650 passing yards and 199 passing yards for three different teams.