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Alex Smith says return from injury threw ‘wrench’ into Washington Football Team’s plans: ‘They didn’t want me’




Alex Smith’s return to the soccer field in 2020 after a life-threatening leg injury was one of the best stories of the NFL season. But Smith said his triumphant return was seen by the Washington Football Team as more of an unwanted impediment.

Smith, in a Tuesday interview with GQ Magazine, said he tossed a “wrench” into the WFT’s quarterback plans, adding that the team was surprised he could play after returning from a November 18, 2018 injury: a compound fracture affecting both the shin and fibula. in his right leg. A life-threatening infection made matters worse, almost forcing doctors to amputate his leg above the knee.

Smith returned to Washington for the start of the 2020 season, but felt he had not been shaken ‘fair’ as freshman coach Ron Rivera highlighted sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins as the team’s starter.

“When I decided to come back I definitely threw a key into the team’s plan,” Smith told GQ. “ They didn’t see it, didn’t want me there, didn’t want me to be part of it, didn’t want me to be on the team, the squad, didn’t want to give me a chance. Mind you, it was a whole new regime, they came inside, i’m like leftovers and i’m hurt and i’m this liability.

‘No, they didn’t want me there. At that point, as you can imagine, everything I had been through, I couldn’t have cared any less. Like it or not, I give this is a shot at this point. “

MORE: What Happened to Alex Smith? The story of his broken leg and a ‘miracle’ comeback from the NFL two years later

Smith said the team initially tried to put him on the injured reserve before the roster’s final roster was cut, ending any hope of a 2020 comeback. Instead, he opened camp on the list of physically unable to perform until August 16. Even then, Smith said, he wasn’t allowed to participate in 11-on-11 fully-held workouts until late in training camp and only after that after urging coaches to give him a shot.

“I felt like I still hadn’t had my fair shake at that point,” Smith said. “I wanted to see if I could play quarterback and play football, and I feel like I didn’t get that chance to figure that out. It’s like getting so close to the finish line of a marathon and they tell you. you that you can’t finish the race. It’s like, “f that. I’m finishing this thing. At least I’m going to see if I can do it. “So I’m grateful we worked through all those things, but no, it wasn’t like open arms came back after two years.”

Smith opened as the team’s No. 3 quarterback for the first four games of the season before Rivera chose to put Haskins on the bench (89 of 146 passes, 939 yards, four touchdowns, three interceptions, 13 sacks). Smith, then the primary backup, saw his first action in Week 5 after starter Kyle Allen left the game with a concussion. He completed 9 of 17 passes for 37 yards in the loss of 30-10.

Smith regained statistics only four weeks later, completing 24 of 32 passes for 325 yards and one touchdown to three interceptions in a 23-20 loss to the Giants. The following week, he earned his first start, leading the team to four wins in five games. He sustained a bone bruise in a December 13 win over San Francisco, but returned in the final game of the regular season to lead the team to a win over the Eagles. He didn’t play in the team’s wild card loss to eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay; Rivera went with Taylor Heinicke instead.

In six games started, Smith completed 135 of the 203 passes for 1,220 yards and five touchdowns to five interceptions. For the season, he completed 168 of 252 passes for 1,582 yards and six touchdowns to eight interceptions.

MORE: Washington’s Alex Smith now has his own ‘bloody sock game’ thanks to Twitter

The Washington Football Team declined to comment on the Smith interview, which raised questions about whether he will play for the team again in 2021. His contract will run until the 2022 season, when he would become an unrestricted free agent. He has a cap of $ 24.4 million for the team by 2021, per SpotracThe team would save $ 13.8 million if it released him.

Whether Smith will return to play for Washington remains to be seen. But the NFL Comeback Player of the Year 2020 isn’t interested in putting up his cleats just yet.

“I’ve got more left,” Smith said to GQ. “I have more to get there too. So I really, really want to get into the meat of this off season and see where I stand and push it. I want to push my body harder. I want to push my leg harder. The harder I press it, it does respond.

“At some point, of course, I’m going to have to sit down with my wife and have a really real conversation, and do we want to do this? She deserves a lot of input. So we’ll see.”

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