Alex Smith’s return to the NFL gridiron, two years after suffering a horrifying leg injury that threatened his life, was one of the best stories of the 2020 season. He walked away with the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award in a nearly unanimous vote.
But if it was up to the Washington Football Team, it wouldn’t have happened at all.
In an interview with GQ, Smith opened up about his journey back onto the football field – saying Washington didn’t exactly greet him with “open arms” upon his decision to return.
“When I decided to come back, I definitely threw a wrench in the team’s plan,” Smith said. “They didn’t see it, didn’t want me there, didn’t want me to be a part of it, didn’t want me to be on the team, the roster, didn’t want to give me a chance. Mind you, it was a whole new regime, they came in, I’m like the leftovers and I’m hurt and I’m this liability.
“Heck no, they didn’t want me there. At that point, as you can imagine, everything I’d been through, I couldn’t have cared less about all that. Whether you like it or not, I’m giving this a go at this point.”
Smith began the season as the third-string quarterback for Washington, but quickly rose up the depth chart. Dwayne Haskins was benched after starting the first four games of the season (and released before the season ended), and Kyle Allen went down with an ankle injury four weeks later.
Washington won five of Smith’s six starts and the NFC East, something they probably wouldn’t have accomplished without him. Smith, though, was unable to play in the team’s Wild Card loss to the eventual champion Buccaneers.