Alex Smith will be traded from Kansas City to Washington tomorrow, and he wants the fans of his old team to know he appreciates them.
In a letter in the Players’ Tribune, Smith writes that Kansas City has “incredibly passionate fans,” and he’s going to miss playing for them.
“I’m going to miss pulling into Arrowhead and snaking through the thousands of tailgaters that make up Chiefs Kingdom,” Smith writes. “As a quarterback, you arrive to the stadium pretty early on game day. And when I’d get to Arrowhead, the parking lot would already be full. Honestly, if you show up to tailgate in Kansas City at 8:30 a.m., you’re already late to the party. And I can tell you that after 13 seasons and playing in nearly every NFL stadium, not every city is like that. Just seeing how dedicated Chiefs fans are, it always instilled a sense of pride in me to put on that jersey and go out and play for them. I don’t think that’s always the case in pro sports, and I never took that for granted during my five years in Kansas City. I’m going to miss that.”
Smith says he has known for 11 months, since the Chiefs traded up in the draft to select Patrick Mahomes, that 2017 was going to be his final season in Kansas City.
“Going into this past season, I pretty much knew,” Smith said. “I mean, I had to know, right? With everything I’ve experienced so far in my career, I probably understand the ‘business’ of football as well as anyone. And trading up to take a quarterback in the draft isn’t exactly a subtle move as to the future of a franchise. It was pretty obvious what that meant for me.”
In Washington, Smith knows he’s with a team that believes in him. But he also knows that eventually he’ll be replaced by a younger quarterback in Washington, too. And he seems OK with the understanding that that’s just the business of football.