Despite beginning last season on a tear, Washington Redskins’ quarterback Alex Smith finds himself in the awkward position of not knowing what his future in the NFL entails. He is no stranger to the impacts of an injury. His 2012 injury was the one that famously lost him the 49ers starting quarterback job to Colin Kaepernick and eventually led the team to trade him to Kansas City.
At 35 years old, time is working against Alex Smith and it is safe to ask if he will ever play in the NFL again.
Alex Smith’s 2018 season
Things were looking good for Smith during his first season with the Redskins. He was coming off of five-straight winning years with the Chiefs, a team who was among the bottom-tier teams in the NFL when he arrived in Kansas City, and the Redskins were responding well to the presence of the veteran quarterback on the field.
In the ten games that he played, Smith threw for 2,180 yards and ten touchdowns to go against his five interceptions with a 62.5% completion rate. The team was 6-3 and looking to be present in the playoff hunt. Then, tragedy struck.
On November 18, 2018, the Redskins found themselves in a game against the Houston Texans. While trying to avoid a blitz from two defenders, Alex Smith found his leg in an awkward position, causing it to snap in a way that was almost too graphic to show on television. Smith shared his dark sense of humor regarding the subject with Yahoo Sports.
“I knew [it was bad] right away, as soon as I looked down and my leg wasn’t straight,” Smith laughed to Yahoo Sports. “You’re so used to your whole life, when you look down, your leg is straight. And [then] it wasn’t anymore.”
Football fans may recollect a similar injury, which coincidentally took place exactly 33 years prior when Joe Theismann was tackled by Lawrence Taylor and saw his leg snap. Video of the injury shows Taylor in panic mode after seeing what his hit had done to Theismann’s leg. Theismann was also in the crowd to watch Smith’s injury in person.
Theismann’s injury cost him the rest of his career, and Theismann says that Smith’s injury triggered memories of his injury.
“I was there that night,” Theismann said to the ‘Rapsheet and Friends’ NFL Podcast. “As soon as it happened, they happened to have a camera angle from behind. Now, it took me 20 years to see mine, but then all of a sudden with Alex, I saw this camera angle from behind him. And I looked at it and turned to [my wife] Robin and said, ‘That’s exactly like mine.'”
Will Alex Smith come back?
Neither Alex Smith nor the Redskins recovered from his injury last year, and many wonder if he will ever recover. Not only did he suffer a broken tibia and fibula, but an infection spread. This infection required more surgery.
He had to spend four months recovering in a wheelchair with his leg stuck in place. Smith was optimistic about the struggle in the talk with Yahoo Sports.
“I’m still determined [to play], still marching down the road, still optimistic,” Smith said to Yahoo Sports. “I want to push it, for the challenge’s sake. I want to see what I’ve got … I enjoy the challenge, even to this [recovery], coming out here and being with the guys. It’s not going to last forever. I’d like to see where it leads.”
Whether Smith comes back or not, he has had a great career that will not be defined by this injury. He has 33 years of medical advancement going for him that Theismann didn’t, and he has a positive outlook. Time will tell if we have seen the last of him, however.