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.
“Im 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 Id 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., youre 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 dont think thats always the case in pro sports, and I never took that for granted during my five years in Kansas City. Im 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 Ive 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 isnt exactly a subtle move as to the future of a franchise. It was pretty obvious what that meant for me.”
Washington traded for Smith in January and signed him to a four-year, $94 million extension, but the deal wont be official until the league year starts on Wednesday, the first day of NFL free agency.
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.
Alex Smith knew he was on borrowed time in Kansas City. The arrival of first-round draft pick Patrick Mahomes signaled the end of his tenure as the face of the Chiefs franchise.
But now the 33-year-old quarterback is eager to begin a new chapter in Washington.
Im just looking forward to starting something new with the Redskins … and finishing it, the Redskins new starting quarterback wrote in a heartfelt Players Tribune goodbye letter to Chiefs fans.
Its entirely possible Hali finds another opportunity at a reduced rate — pass-rushers are tough to pinpoint — but the Chiefs are finally moving on from one of their most celebrated stars of the 2000s.
Washington traded for Smith in January and agreed to a four-year, $94 million extension, but the deal wont be official until the league year starts on Wednesday, the first day of NFL free agency.
[Entering Jay Grudens fifth season, Redskins have big decisions to make in free agency]
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Im jacked, Smith said about the trade last month. Im really excited. Once I found out that things in Kansas City were going in a different direction, I was pumped at the opportunity, and when Washington came calling I was hopeful that that was a possible destination, and Im just jacked that it worked out. They wanted me because the feeling was mutual, and Im looking forward to it.
He touched on similar themes in his goodbye letter, describing a mix of sadness in leaving Kansas City and excitement about his new stop.
If theres one thing Ive learned in my career, its that no matter what the circumstances, when you get an opportunity — when a team tells you that they want you to be the guy — you dont take it for granted, he wrote. You embrace it. You run with it.
Before Smith fully turns his attention to what lies ahead in Washington, he took time to express gratitude for his former organization, coaches and fans.
And thank you to the Kansas City community and all the friends my family and I have made during our time with you. To see all the farewell donations that have been made to the Alex Smith Foundation — all in increments of 11 — has been really special. Its a tremendous gesture that my family and I have been very touched by. We appreciate you. Were better people because we were fortunate enough to spend the last five years with you.
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, he wrote. I dont think thats always the case in pro sports, and I never took that for granted during my five years in Kansas City. Im going to miss that.
In closing, Smith offered his final farewell to his home for the past five years and expressed excitement about the future in Ashburn.
So thank you, Kansas City, he wrote. You will forever be a huge part of who I am as a quarterback and as a man.
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