Being a professional athlete definitely isn’t easy. In the United States, most sports stars arrive through the draft after performing brilliantly in college. But even that isn’t enough to guarantee success at the top. The step from college to the pro game is a massive one. It’s not unusual for athletes to have a terrible first season.
Today, we’re going to look at 35 athletes who struggled in their rookie years. All of these stars went on to achieve success in some shape or form later in their careers. However, they definitely didn’t set the world on fire in their first seasons. These players come from all major team sports in the world. Check out the list below via The Sportster.
35. Alex Smith
Smith received the 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year award after his astonishing comeback from a terrible leg break. But it wasn’t the first challenge that he experienced in his professional career. Smith experienced a rough rookie year and was riddled by injuries. He featured in nine games throughout the 2005 season but only threw a single touchdown pass.
Meanwhile, his first year with the Niners saw him post one of the lowest quarterback ratings in the league. Luckily, he developed and established himself as San Francisco’s starter. His statistics improved dramatically in his sophomore year as he proved that he was capable of being a franchise QB. Smith has had some major ups and downs as an NFL player but never gave up.