ESPN hires former Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith as NFL analyst

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Posted at 12:37 PM, Aug 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-16 13:42:17-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Former Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith has signed on with ESPN as an NFL analyst, the company announced Monday.

Smith will appear on multiple shows related to NFL programming, including SportsCenter, in his new role. He'll also make appearances on ESPN's Monday Nigh Count Down, Sunday NFL Countdown and help with coverage of Super Bowl LVI and the 2022 NFL Draft.

“When I announced my retirement in April, I knew I was walking away from the playing field, but was not walking away from the game,” Smith said in a press release. “This opportunity with ESPN surrounds me with new teammates and provides a fresh challenge as my family and I begin the next phase of our life. I’ll be contributing to ESPN’s coverage in a number of ways this season, continuing the relationship with the game I, and so many others, love.”

The Chiefs acquired Smith in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers in 2013 shortly after hiring Andy Reid as head coach.

During five seasons in Kansas City, Smith went 50-26 in 76 games as a starter, throwing for for 102 touchdowns, 17,608 yards and completing more than 65% of his throws.

The Chiefs made the playoffs in four of Smith's five seasons, including the franchise's first postseason win in 22 seasons at Houston in 2015, but that was the team's only win during that span.

With the emergence of Patrick Mahomes, who Smith helped mentor during his rookie season, Smith was subsequently traded to the Washington Football Team.

Washington was 6-4 and in the thick of the playoff race led by Smith in 2018 when he suffered a gruesome compound leg fracture, which became infected and nearly killed him.

He missed the final six games in 2018, the entire 2019 season and half of the 2020 season during his recovery, which included more than a dozen surgeries and an intensive rehab.

Smith became Washington's starter late last season due to injury, leading first-year coach Ron Rivera's squad to a 5-1 record and an NFC East title. He was selected as the 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year.

The former No. 1 overall pick by the 49ers in 2005, Smith announced his retirement in April.

“ESPN’s relationship with Alex dates back nearly 20 years when he was gaining national recognition leading Utah to an undefeated season and a top 5 ranking,” ESPN senior vice president of production Lee Fitting, who was producing College GameDay at the time, said in a statement. “As he begins a new career, we will provide him role flexibility to gain experience on different shows and settings, adding to our productions and benefitting fans in multiple ways. Ultimately, our mutual goal is setting up Alex for long-term success in this next chapter.”