SALT LAKE CITY — Amid the chaotic Kansas City celebration following the Chiefs’ 31-20 win over San Francisco in Super Bowl LIV on Sunday, quarterback Patrick Mahomes said he received a text from former teammate Alex Smith congratulating the Super Bowl MVP on the victory.
“He texted me right after the game, saying he enjoyed it just as much as we did,” Mahomes told ESPN. “He wasn’t there, but he was part of it — I think that’s the biggest thing. He built the culture that I came into. He was the guy that led the team to all these successful seasons and built that winning culture.”
Smith, the 14-year NFL veteran who led Utah to its first BCS appearance in 2004, was Kansas City’s starting quarterback when the Chiefs traded up to draft Mahomes with the 10th overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft. After a year of learning behind Smith, Mahomes took over as Kansas City’s starter in 2018 and Smith was traded to Washington.
Earlier during Super Bowl week in the Miami area, Chiefs coach Andy Reid credited Smith for the mentoring role he willingly took on with Mahomes.
“He wasn’t asked to do this, but he let Patrick into his world, and Patrick handled it the right way,” Reid said. “He was humble around Alex and didn’t try to overstep his bounds with Alex but yet competed.
“... I joke about it, but it’s true: Patrick couldn’t pay Alex enough for what he gave him with that experience.”
Smith moved on to become the Redskins’ quarterback during the 2018 season, where he threw for 2,180 yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions before a gruesome leg injury in Week 11 ended his season. He suffered a compound fracture of his right tibia and a fractured right fibula when he was sacked by J.J. Watt and Kareem Jackson, and the injury has kept him from returning to the field.
Smith told ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” in a segment that aired last week he is “very much lucky to be alive” after the leg injury, as the severity of the injury and a major infection combined to create a life-threatening situation.
“I had a pretty serious infection ... they had a lot of complications with it,’’ Smith told ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap, saying he developed sepsis. “... (The) next thing I remember is waking up several weeks later faced with the decision of amputation or limb salvage at that point.”
Smith, who’s under contract with Washington through the 2022 season, showed gratitude to those who’ve helped him through the difficult recovery process.
“(I’m) so thankful for everyone that’s had a hand in this,” he told Schaap. “My wife, kids, and family and doctors and nurses and PTs and trainers and so many people that have helped me to be sitting here.”