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Alex Smith era begins for Redskins as trade becomes official

(AP Photo/Steve Nesius, File)

By STEPHEN WHYNO

AP Sports Writer

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) The Alex Smith era has begun in Washington as the Redskins completed their trade for the veteran quarterback.

Smith joined the Redskins from the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for a third-round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller. The deal and Smith's subsequent four-year contract extension were agreed to in February but couldn't become official until Wednesday's start of the new league year.

"I just wanted to say how excited and happy I am to be part of the Redskins team," Smith said in a video posted on Washington's Twitter account. "Can't wait to build something great together."

Smith replaces Kirk Cousins as the Redskins' No. 1 quarterback. Cousins spent the past three seasons as Washington's starter and played the past two on the franchise tag. He is being courted by the Minnesota Vikings.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Alex and what he was able to accomplish with us these past five seasons," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "He put every ounce of energy into making our football team better and I appreciate his leadership and how he came to work with the right attitude every day."

Smith, who turns 34 in May, led the Chiefs to four playoff appearances in the past five years, throwing for 102 touchdowns and 33 interceptions. He carries a $17 million salary-cap hit for 2018.

The Redskins are expected to introduce Smith at a news conference Thursday with senior vice president of player personnel Doug Williams and coach Jay Gruden. Less than 90 minutes after the trade was official, No. 11 Smith jerseys were seen at Redskins stores in the D.C. area.

At the scouting combine in Indianapolis, Gruden said it was time to move on from Cousins and find some continuity at quarterback. Cousins wrote a farewell ode to the Redskins on his website, thanking owner Dan Snyder, team president Bruce Allen, Gruden and former coach Mike Shanahan, among others.

"Just like you never fully leave your hometown - you never fully leave your first NFL team, especially after six seasons," Cousins wrote. "My family and I will always have a piece of Washington deep in our hearts. I arrived as a single, 23-year-old from the Midwest - with a lot to learn and prove. I now leave as a husband of four years to my wife, Julie, and a father to my son, Cooper - but still with lots to learn and prove."

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AP Sports Writer Dave Skretta contributed.

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Updated March 14, 2018

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