Prior to retiring, Alex Smith was ‘incredibly close’ to signing with Jaguars

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Alex Smith isn’t sure what the future holds for him following his NFL retirement in March, though it looks like we can safely cross out coaching from his list of post-career options. “We can go ahead and take coaching off the table at this point,” Smith expressed Wednesday during his appearance on Adam Schefter’s podcast. “My wife would kill me if that was a route I pursued. The point of me retiring—I did seriously think about [continuing] to play and had opportunities out there—but for me, it really was about spending time with my family.”

After parting ways with Washington, the veteran quarterback said he visited the Jaguars, who are coached by Urban Meyer. Smith, of course, played under Meyer at Utah, leading the Utes to an undefeated 2004 season. So how close did the 37-year-old actually come to reuniting with his former college coach in Jacksonville?

“I was incredibly close,” revealed Smith. “That was the place I was really intrigued by. It would have been crazy to get to play for Coach Meyer again, sandwiched between 16 years. I’m still obviously so pumped for him and this opportunity and curious like everybody else to see how it goes. He’s such a unique person and coach. I think he brings so much to the table and I’m anxious to see if it translates to the NFL level. I think it will.”

The three-time Pro Bowler also noted his familiarity with GM Trent Baalke, who held the same position during Smith’s tenure in San Francisco. Smith was excited about potentially taking Trevor Lawrence (who the reigning Comeback Player of the Year says he’s heard “nothing but good things” about) under his wing, but after much deliberation, decided it wasn’t worth it to uproot his family again. “There were so many connections. It definitely felt like it was calling out to me,” Smith admitted. “Ultimately, my kids’ ages, where my family’s at, that won out for me in the end.”

Had he accepted Jacksonville’s offer, Smith said he would have embraced mentoring Lawrence, drawing on his own experiences as a former No. 1 pick. “It would have been amazing,” said Smith, who played a similar role in the development of both Colin Kaepernick and Patrick Mahomes. “I feel like I’ve lived the ‘what not to do’ and certainly don’t want to see any other young guys go down that road. I have been a part of rooms where there is a transition and potentially a bit of mentoring going on and that’s not something that scared me at all.”

Smith’s playing days may be over, but it’s remarkable he made it back at all after suffering a gruesome, potentially life-threatening injury in 2018. After undergoing 17 surgeries for various infections related to his fractured leg, Smith miraculously returned to the field in 2020, appearing in eight games including six starts for Washington.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Will Newton, Getty Images