After 16 NFL seasons and one of the most incredible recoveries in sports history, former Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith announced his retirement on Monday -- one that came on his own terms.
Smith was granted his release from Washington in March and after that occurred, multiple teams were interested in signing the 36-year-old, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.
Additionally, Pelissero reported that Smith's decision to walk away from football was reportedly made a few weeks ago before the quarterback officially announced it in an Instagram post.
The fact that other teams had interest in signing Smith prior to his decision to retire should not come as a surprise.
Although his numbers were modest at best in 2020, Smith went 5-1 as Washington's starter, including victories over the previously undefeated Steelers and reigning NFC champion 49ers. When the veteran was under center for the Burgundy and Gold, there was a sense of calmness and confidence that the team's other quarterbacks did not have. While Smith wasn't nearly as athletic as he was pre-injury, the quarterback proved in 2020 he could still play at a starter-caliber level.
One team that figured to be interested in Smith was the Jacksonville Jaguars, as the veteran could have served as a mentor to likely No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence similarly to how he did in Kansas City for then-rookie Patrick Mahomes in 2017. Jacksonville's new head coach, Urban Meyer, was also Smith's head coach at the University of Utah, where the two experienced plenty of success together.
On the most recent edition of the Michael Irvin Podcast, Meyer said that Jacksonville had conversations about bringing Smith in.
“I wanted him here. You know, we talked to him about joining here. He’s had a tough injury. ... There are some medical people in our organization that were very concerned," Meyer said.
In that same conversation, Meyer said the Jaguars were going to "keep an eye on" Smith, as the head coach hoped he came back.
"He's one of the great stories in NFL history," Meyer said.
Meyer won't have the chance to reunite with his former quarterback because Smith is walking away from football on his own terms.
"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," Smith said.