KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It was a dragon and a poisoned apple away from the perfect fairy tale.
Once upon a time, there was this skinny kid from San Diego. At 19, nobody outside of SoCal had heard of him. At 20, he was rocking the free world like nobody's business. At 21, he was a Heisman Trophy finalist, a college graduate, and the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, set for stinking life.
"Summer of 2005, I got married; it was the summer before his rookie year," Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen, one of Alex Smith's mentors, recalled, "He showed up to come to (my) wedding, and I think he'd gotten his first credit card. He didn't have much of a limit on it."
"Used to lose his wallet all the time."
Before long, that wallet would be expanded, right along with the expectations. And to think: Things had been so simple, so ... charmed. From 2003-2004, Smith and coach Urban Meyer, Mullen's boss at the time, had pulled Utah into college football's stratosphere, a rise c...