“I will come back to last year and being in that room with Alex [Smith], having that opportunity to see how he worked,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid explained to reporters on Monday. “For a young guy, that’s invaluable. Alex was not one who was going to hide anything or play games with him or anything like that. He kept it all out in the open and was secure enough, that wasn’t a problem. . . . He came into a good situation with Alex and I said that was priceless for him. There’s no way he could repay Alex with having that experience. That was phenomenal.”
Smith’s compensation for his efforts was a one-way ticket out of town, but he also received a lucrative new contract from his latest new team. That was probably going to be the outcome anyway, regardless of whether Smith had or hadn’t helped Mahomes.
It’s a testament to Smith’s character that he didn’t perceive the younger player as a threat but as a colleague. Mahomes didn’t draft himself to Kansas City; the team selected him, after trading up in round one to do so. Smith did the selfless thing, teaching someone he had no obligation to teach and making it easier for his employer to move on from him.