In hindsight, however, the message was an utter disaster.
The Washington Football Team quarterback revealed on the Green Light podcast he sent Alex Smith a text suggesting he would be back on the field in no time. That was hardly the case, however, as Smith nearly lost his life as the result of numerous surgeries:
“When Alex broke his leg in that game a few years ago, I had what I thought was a similar injury: I fractured my tibia in 2014 with the Houston Texans,” Fitzpatrick said, via Yahoo Sports. “So the single worst text I've ever sent out, I sent it to Alex. 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.'
“And I sent it and felt good about it, and he said ‘Well, mine might be a little more complicated.' And 17 surgeries later, and the story of what he had to overcome, I felt like the biggest a**hole.”
However, Alex Smith did eventually triumph.
The former No. 1 overall pick made a heroic return to the gridiron in 2020, going 5-1 in six starts and helping to lead Washington to the NFC East title. He was named the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year in what was one of the best stories of the season.
Smith announced his retirement from football on Monday. He might ultimately be replaced under center by Fitzpatrick, who signed a one-year deal with Washington in free agency.
Fitzpatrick might lament sending that text given everything Alex Smith endured. But, in some ways, it only adds to Smith's miraculous comeback and his legacy as a guy who never quit in the face of tremendous adversity.