Alex Smith opens up about infection that nearly took his life

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The Chiefs became perennial Super Bowl contenders once Patrick Mahomes became one of the best young quarterbacks the league has ever seen. His predecessor, Alex Smith, has had a much different ride in the two seasons since the trade that sent him to Washington.

Smith, speaking with ESPN’s Outside The Lines, provides a candid assessment of the 2018 broken leg and the infection that complicated his recovery dramatically.

Smith told ESPN that he’s “very much lucky to be alive” following an infection that turned septic, necessitating an extended process aimed at saving his life, and then saving his leg.

“I had a pretty serious infection,” Smith told ESPN. “They had a lot of complications with it.”

The struggle kept Smith hospitalized. More than a year later, he doesn’t recall much of the early stages of it.

“[The] next thing I remember is waking up several weeks later faced with the decision of amputation or limb salvage at that point,” Smith said.

Now healed, the first overall pick in the 2005 draft reiterated his desire to play again.

“There’s enough there that I can go out there and play,” Smith said. “Knowing that, yeah, failure is a possibility. . . . I need to prove that I can come back and play quarterback in the NFL, and if I can do that, that would be great and it’ll get figured out.”

Given the odds Smith already has beaten, getting back onto the field would be the easy part. Everyone should be rooting for that to happen.

33 responses to “Alex Smith opens up about infection that nearly took his life

  1. I will never be as good at anything as Alex Smith was at football. The dedication, the training and the innate ability it takes to be an NFL quarterback is astounding.

    And yet. If that thing that I loved so much almost killed me, I would find another way to be around the game. Go into coaching or broadcasting, Alex.

  2. As a long time Chiefs fan I admire and appreciate what Alex did in K.C. People have a tendency to forget just how terrible the Chiefs were from 2005 till he was traded here. Best of luck to him.

  3. That’s about as scary as it gets. Glad he’s okay now. His stats were always ten times more impressive than his abilities as an NFL quarterback. How many times have we seen Smith throw a “last chance to win the game” pass out of bounds to ensure he didn’t have an interception added to his record? Feels like a thousand times to me. He is certainly no Philip Rivers. His stats were more important to him than winning. Sorry, but that doesn’t work for me.

  4. if you go back now to the draft that Aaron Rodgers uses to motivate himself, I feel much more empathy now for Alex Smith. He got drafted by a struggling team going nowhere, upheaval. Rogers got into a good situation, pushed out a legend, and reaped a Super Bowl win — the only measurable difference between them. Smith’s story is more compelling. Rogers was born into the NFL with a silver spoon in his mouth.

  5. Alex, I am not there and I do not know anything but news stories about your horrific injury and circumstances. But I ask: “Why?” …. why attempt a comeback and risk the possibility of repeating the same scenario all over again? I know the elite professional athlete is exceptionally driven and gifted in competitiveness. But after all that you have been through, I think I speak for many NFL fans who would just encourage you to give yourself the chance to walk, run and live life with both legs. You escaped a disaster. Why tempt fate? Why not contribute to the game you love in a way that will not cripple you and your future? You don’t have to prove anything to us. We respect you and what you did as a quarterback and man. Be careful out there. We are rooting for you. Good luck in the future mate.

  6. What a terrible experience but also a major wakeup call. You gotta know when to hang it up. He was drafted 15 years ago. Two years away from the game are significant at age 37. I know he became a pretty good QB, but why not focus on how he can win at the next 40 years (hopefully)?

  7. Alex Smith is a classy guy, both on and off the field. I understand why the Chiefs needed to move on, but I appreciate his time in KC.

  8. Hard to imagine he could even catch on somewhere as a backup but I certainly wish him luck. Might make more sense to move into a coaching role.

  9. Alex Smith deserves a lot of credit for the way he has dealt with adversity.

    When Smith was drafted by the Forty Niners, he had a different Offensive Coordinator EVERY YEAR, for the entire 6 years of his stay in SF.

    It was a horrible thing to do to a rookie QB. Trey literally gave him a new offensive system every year. He never got used to any system. The players around Smith had to deal with that, too. I’m amazed at how many game the Niners won with Smith.

    Going to KC was great for Smith. Reid provided stability. For the first time in his career, Smith got to work in the same offensive system every year…and he thrived.

    Mahomes had the luck of sitting behind Smith for a year, learning the system from a seasoned veteran. That helped Mahomes to mature even more quickly than he would have otherwise.

  10. Why I Love Football says:
    February 1, 2020 at 1:18 pm
    Alex, I am not there and I do not know anything but news stories about your horrific injury and circumstances. But I ask: “Why?” …. why attempt a comeback and risk the possibility of repeating the same scenario all over again? I know the elite professional athlete is exceptionally driven and gifted in competitiveness. But after all that you have been through, I think I speak for many NFL fans who would just encourage you to give yourself the chance to walk, run and live life with both legs. You escaped a disaster. Why tempt fate? Why not contribute to the game you love in a way that will not cripple you and your future? You don’t have to prove anything to us. We respect you and what you did as a quarterback and man. Be careful out there. We are rooting for you. Good luck in the future mate.
    —————————————–

    If Smith does come back, he will not be at any more risk than any other QB. In fact, since he’s likely wear a brace, he will be less likely to get a similar injury.

    Having said that, I think that Smith’s career as a QB is over. I wish him well.

  11. I’ve always liked Alex and as his career unfolded, came to admire and respect him more as he weathered each storm. He hasn’t had the easy path some 1st round picks get, and the way Harbaugh did him at SF was shameful. His experience at Washington is difficult. I do hope and wish him the best. Someone should write a book and make a movie.

  12. I’m a Niners fan and Alex Smith struggled his first few years but he had a terrible team around him and a new offensive coordinator every year. But, since 2011 he has a record of 78-34-1 and his team only missed the playoffs once. He also has 142 TD’s to only 48 INT’s over that period. If there is a team that feels they could get over the hump with a good QB, he would be a great pick-up. The Redskins were 6-3 and in first place in their division when he got injured.

  13. hedleykow says:

    February 1, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    That’s about as scary as it gets. Glad he’s okay now. His stats were always ten times more impressive than his abilities as an NFL quarterback. How many times have we seen Smith throw a “last chance to win the game” pass out of bounds to ensure he didn’t have an interception added to his record? Feels like a thousand times to me. He is certainly no Philip Rivers. His stats were more important to him than winning. Sorry, but that doesn’t work for me.

    _____________________

    Well Alex Smith in his career have 18 4th quarter comebacks and 22 game-winning drives. So it clear you don’t know what you’re talking about at all.

  14. I could see him maybe going to Chicago and having an opportunity there. Maybe he could be next year’s Tannehill and take over for a QB drafted way too early that hasn’t panned out. But there’s not a lot of other places I could see it working for him.

  15. Alex is making too much guaranteed money to just walk away from football right now. We’ll see how he feels about resuming his career when the
    guarantee runs out. Nobody ever accused Smith of being stupid. But even if he decides to walk away from football, there’s no point in leaving just yet.

  16. I see a lot of people asking why he would come back. I think a lot of times football becomes who they are not what they do. When they don’t have that any more I think some player feel a little lost. Who knows? 🤷‍♂️

  17. hedleykow says:

    February 1, 2020 at 1:03 pm

    That’s about as scary as it gets. Glad he’s okay now. His stats were always ten times more impressive than his abilities as an NFL quarterback. How many times have we seen Smith throw a “last chance to win the game” pass out of bounds to ensure he didn’t have an interception added to his record? Feels like a thousand times to me. He is certainly no Philip Rivers. His stats were more important to him than winning. Sorry, but that doesn’t work for me.
    _________________________________________________________________
    From 2011 until his injury, only Tom Brady has a higher winning %. It’s a fact and you can look it up. Yes, during that span his winning % is better than Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Drew Brees.

  18. Dan Snyder is in the hook for the FULL 72 million if Alex cant come back. I think Alex has no intentions of coming back, but has play the game and say the right things to make Snyder pay contract. Much health Alex and take IT TO THAT AWFUL OWNER.

  19. Alex smith is the dude. Humble, smart, hardworking, dedicated, unselfish.

    I was lucky enough to meet him a few times because my work at the time was a major sponsor of the team which provided us access. He was always kind and outgoing, thoughtful and treated us regular joes like we were important.

    I’m happy that he was able to resurrect his career in KC. I am happy that he came out with both legs, he is still under contact with the team in Washington DC so if I were him I’d state a desire to return even if it weren’t the truth. He deserves that money

  20. Good luck Alex! Hope your ready to start come September! Rivera needs a QB other than Colt McCoy!

  21. Mahomes had the luck of sitting behind Smith for a year, learning the system from a seasoned veteran. That helped Mahomes to mature even more quickly than he would have otherwise.

    radar8 says:
    February 1, 2020 at 1:40 pm
    ——————————————————————
    Man i’m so sick and tired of all the HYPERBOLE garbage like if Alex Smith wasn’t there somehow Mahomes wouldn’t be Mahomes. The bottom line is the team was a Veteran team and Andy went with the veteran as he is known for despite in PRACTICE Mahomes was out throwing Alex and had teammates Jaws dropping to the ground in what he was doing.

    I could picture the same garbage praise getting thrown Joe Flacco way had Lamar sit out and never took a snap until this season. Mahomes will always say the right things but you know it had to internally just eat away at him to not be giving the chance to go out much sooner to play.

  22. PrincePaul says:
    February 1, 2020 at 2:44 pm
    hedleykow says:
    February 1, 2020 at 1:03 pm
    That’s about as scary as it gets. Glad he’s okay now. His stats were always ten times more impressive than his abilities as an NFL quarterback. How many times have we seen Smith throw a “last chance to win the game” pass out of bounds to ensure he didn’t have an interception added to his record? Feels like a thousand times to me. He is certainly no Philip Rivers. His stats were more important to him than winning. Sorry, but that doesn’t work for me.
    _________________________________________________________________
    From 2011 until his injury, only Tom Brady has a higher winning %. It’s a fact and you can look it up. Yes, during that span his winning % is better than Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Drew Brees.
    ——————————————–
    So, Smith is a better qb than Rodgers, Wilson, and Brees because his win stats say so? Thank you for illustrating my point. You can have Smith and I’ll happily take any of the other three.

  23. Wishing this guy all the best. If he can come back and be successful at QB again hats off to him. The leg injury was bad enough but the infection was scary. Nobody should have to go through that.

  24. Just glad to read that Alex Smith is healthy and didn’t lose a limb. 17 surgeries, sepsis. That’s about as serious as it gets.

  25. jonathankrobinson424 says:
    February 1, 2020 at 2:46 pm
    Dan Snyder is in the hook for the FULL 72 million if Alex cant come back. I think Alex has no intentions of coming back, but has play the game and say the right things to make Snyder pay contract. Much health Alex and take IT TO THAT AWFUL OWNER.

    ——————————

    Snyder is on the hook for the full amount even if he DOES come back. So you cheer-leading for vindictive pettiness is not needed in this case.

  26. Godspeed to you Alex. Your class and professionalism while being a Chief will never be forgotten

  27. If he can play, the Redskins should trade him to any team he wants. Chargers, Indy, wherever. They won’t get much and the other team would have to do a lot of medical reviews beforehand, but it doesn’t make any sense to keep him when they have a young QB who needs to play to get better.

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