ASHBURN -- In total, 16 seasons, 17 surgeries and an amazing comeback later, and it's all over (for the 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, Alex Smith.
The former Washington Football Team QB announced Monday on Instagram that he is retiring.
The first reaction: What a classy individual who overcame all odds to help lead his team to an unlikely NFC East title after missing the better part of two whole calendar years with a gruesome leg injury.
Smith knew he wasn't going to be back in Washington in 2021 so he asked for his release. That plan and his desire to play didn't exactly work out as many quarterback jobs around the NFL closed quickly and a possible opportunity to reunite with Urban Meyer in Jacksonville wasn't on the table.
Make no mistake: Washington doesn't win the division without Smith. Sure, he didn't play in the playoff loss to Tampa and maybe that would have been a disaster but his first half against Philadelphia in week 17 - the division clincher - was both ugly and awesome at the same time.
Smith led a 92-yard scoring drive on Washington's first possession against the Eagles, capping it off with a dart touchdown pass to Terry McLaurin. It was the WFT's first score of any kind on an opening drive in 2020.
Smith also found Logan Thomas late in that first half after some significant struggles for a huge game-changing score.
There were other moments. A Thanksgiving win in Dallas, and a huge road win against undefeated Pittsburgh.
Smith was a part of it all. Overall as a starter for Washington in 16 games over three seasons under contract, he led his team to an 11-5 record.
Now, it's time to be a full-time dad and husband. Maybe he will be back at some point. It may not be on the field again but it could be in football at a high level. And maybe it’ll once again be inspirational.