Dan Orlovsky on Alex Smith's 'inspiring' career: 'All he did was overcome'

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Kevin Brown
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Orlovsky on Alex Smith's career: 'All he did was overcome' originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

After Alex Smith announced his retirement from the NFL on Monday, another quarterback selected in the same draft class summed up Smith's career on SportsCenter. 

"Inspiring," Dan Orlovsky said on ESPN shortly after Smith made his decision public. 

Like many NFL pundits back in 2005, Orlovsky wasn't sure Smith's play style would translate from college to the pro game. Smith was one of the first run-and-gun, shovel-passing college quarterback under Urban Meyer's unique Utah offense. The former Detroit Lions' fifth round pick thought Smith would struggle to adapt to NFL defenses. 

Sixteen seasons, three teams, and a heroic Comeback Player of the Year Award later, Smith proved those doubters wrong.

"And all he did was overcome. All he did was kinda succeed, and I grew immense respect for him," Orlovsky said. 

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Of course, Orlovsky wasn't the only notable quarterback also taken in Smith's 2005 draft class, as Aaron Rodgers went to the Green Bay Packers later in the first round. For Orlovsky, it's what Smith has accomplished the last couple seasons that will always be remembered.

"I think he's probably one of the better storied No. 1 overall draft picks in the history of the NFL," Orlovsky said. "I mean here's a guy that went one, came from a little bit of a unique offense, he's a bust early on in many peoples' eyes, and he just continues to surge forward. And he ends up having a remarkable career and obviously one that is littered with inspiration."

After two years of recovery from a leg injury that almost cost Smith his life, he made a point to return to the football field and did so as a winner. Smith went 5-1 as Washington's starter en route to the NFC East title last season.

"Hearing that announcement that he made on Instagram, for me, it's almost emotional because you get to hear and feel everything that's great about football," Orlovsky said. "Everything that football is to so many of us ex-players and this is about Alex, but you feel the weight of his words and the relationship and commitment to other people and the things that it teaches you. The things that it teaches you about yourself. 

I thought it was an awesome announcement and like I said, an inspiring career."