Earlier in 2020, Alex Smith told “Outside the Lines” that he’s “very much lucky to be alive.” On Sunday, Smith made his return to NFL action for the Washington Football Team.
The 36-year old quarterback Smith suffered a compound fracture in his right leg nearly two years ago, during the 2018 season. After a lengthy comeback, Smith was elevated to No. 2 on Washington’s depth chart ahead of Week 5 behind Kyle Allen. When Allen left Sunday’s game with an injury, Smith took the field.
Smith completed the first pass he threw upon his return, a 6-yard pass to J.D. McKissic. According to the NFL’s official Twitter account, Smith’s family was in attendance Sunday.
The former No. 1 overall pick’s injury took place Nov. 18, 2018. Smith was taken down awkwardly by the Houston Texans, and the compound fracture to his right leg resulted in both a broken tibia and fibula in that leg. Smith told “Outside the Lines” that he nearly had to have his leg amputated, in part due to an infection of flesh-eating bacteria after the first surgery. It took 16 more surgeries before Smith’s leg was considered under control.
Smith was already cleared by his surgical team when Washington reported to training camp in July, but he was placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list to start camp. Smith worked out on four-straight days in August, and a couple weeks later, Washington gave Smith the thumbs up to return.
The promotion of Smith up the depth chart ahead of Week 5 was due to the benching of Dwayne Haskins.
“If Alex is healthy and continues to get healthy and we do activate him, he’s going to be in the throes of this competition,” Rivera said recently, per NBC Sports Washington. “It’s going to unfold very nicely as a football team for us because competition is only going to make you better. It’s going to push the young guys as well.”
Smith was selected No. 1 overall in the 2005 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He’s made three Pro Bowls in his career, and he’s thrown for more than 34,000 yards to go with 193 passing touchdowns. Smith had joined Washington prior to the 2018 season, and his squad was 6-3 that year before his injury.
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