After 16 years in the NFL, Alex Smith announced his retirement. This past season, Smith returned to the field after an injury that nearly cost him his leg. The 36-year-old was the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year in 2020 after helping lead the Washington Football Team to the NFC East title.
In November 2018, Smith suffered a broken right fibula and tibia that kept him off the field until October 2020. As ESPN reports, Smith underwent 17 surgeries to fight an infection. He also chose not to have his leg amputated.
In a video posted to Instagram in April, Smith says while he has “plenty of snaps left in me,” he is looking forward to spending time with his family.
Before heading to the NFL as the No. 1 overall draft pick by the San Francisco 49ers in 2005, Smith became well known in Utah as he played for the Utes under head coach Urban Meyer.
Smith’s presence will continue with the NFL as ESPN has signed the three-time Pro Bowler and former first overall draft pick as an analyst.
According to ESPN, Smith will appear on multiple shows and in various roles, mainly surrounding NFL programming, including SportsCenter. Smith will have a role on Monday Night Countdown, before Monday night NFL games, on select weeks and add contributions to Sunday NFL Countdown from time to time.
He is also expected to be part of events like Super Bowl LVI and the 2022 NFL Draft.
“ESPN’s relationship with Alex dates back nearly 20 years when he was gaining national recognition leading Utah to an undefeated season and a top 5 ranking,” says ESPN senior vice president of production Lee Fitting, who was producing College GameDay at the time. “As he begins a new career, we will provide him role flexibility to gain experience on different shows and settings, adding to our productions and benefitting fans in multiple ways. Ultimately, our mutual goal is setting up Alex for long-term success in this next chapter.”
“When I announced my retirement in April, I knew I was walking away from the playing field, but was not walking away from the game,” says Smith. “This opportunity with ESPN surrounds me with new teammates and provides a fresh challenge as my family and I begin the next phase of our life. I’ll be contributing to ESPN’s coverage in a number of ways this season, continuing the relationship with the game I, and so many others, love.”