Ryan Fitzpatrick felt like ‘biggest a–hole’ after text to Alex Smith

Ryan Fitzpatrick felt like 'biggest a--hole' after text to Alex Smith

Ryan Fitzpatrick thought he was doing a nice thing when he sent a supportive text message to fellow NFL quarterback Alex Smith in 2018, after Smith’s devastating leg injury. But Fitzpatrick ended up feeling like “the biggest a–hole ever” after what Smith endured.

Smith, the 36-year-old who announced his retirement on Monday, suffered a compound fracture of the tibia and fibula in his right leg on Nov. 18, 2018 during Washington’s game against the Houston Texans. Four years earlier, Fitzpatrick suffered a fractured left tibia with the Texans and recovered well.

Fitzpatrick seemingly didn’t know the full extent of Smith’s injury, and certainly couldn’t predict what would happen next. Smith ended up needing 17 surgeries and nearly lost his leg, having developed a flesh-eating bacteria that resulted in sepsis, a life-threatening condition caused by the body’s poor response to infection.

In the wake of Smith’s harrowing ordeal, Fitzpatrick looks back on his message as the “single-worst text” he’s ever sent.

“I said ‘Hey, Alex, just want to let you know they’ll fix you right up. You’ll be good as new. I’m out here and I don’t feel any pain from my injury three years later’ or whatever,” Fitzpatrick, the former Jets quarterback who recently signed with Washington, told Chris Long on the “Green Light” podcast.

“And I sent it and felt good about it, and he said ‘Well, mine might be a little more complicated.’ Seventeen surgeries later and the story of what he had to overcome, I felt like the biggest a–hole ever.”

Alex Smith retires Ryan Fitzpatrick text
Alex Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick
Getty Images (2)

Smith not only recovered, but managed to forge one of the most inspiring NFL comebacks ever, returning to the field in October roughly two years after the ghastly injury.

Fitzpatrick is glad he can laugh about his text now.

“What he did last year, it was incredible for him to get back on the field,” Fitzpatrick said of Smith, “and I was very happy after sending that text that he didn’t lose his leg.”