The Washington Football Team is planning to keep quarterback Alex Smith on its 53-man roster, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. Smith, who missed the entire 2019 season after suffering a compound leg fracture in November 2018, was recently activated by the team after he was cleared to participate in football activities.
A three-time Pro Bowler and first overall pick in the 2005 draft, Smith underwent 17 surgeries after sustaining the injury. But despite the severity of his injury, as well as the grueling rehabilitation process, Smith was determined to resume his career.
“I’ve had a lot of people tell me, ‘You’ve played a long time and made a lot of money. Why not kind of ride off into the sunset?'” Smith recently said, via the team’s official website. “I know in the NFL world I’m an old guy — I’m a dinosaur. But, in the bigger aspect of life, I’m 36 years old, I have three little kids, I have the rest of my life in front of me.
“Selfishly, I’m even doing this for them as crazy as that sounds. I know if I can go out there and play quarterback, I can do anything else in life. It’s one of the hardest jobs in sports and so grateful to be able to put that jersey on the last two days and go out there and try and do it. For me, it’s taking on that challenge. I don’t think it’s something I could walk away from and be able to sleep a night if I did. I don’t think I could look my kids in the eye and talk to them about giving it their all and pushing through things. We all face adversity in life and it comes in different forms. Was I going to talk about it or was I going to be about it? For me, that’s what it is.”
After a slow start, Smith has turned in an impressive career resume. After helping lead San Francisco to the NFC title game in 2011, Smith went onto enjoy a successful run with the Chiefs. During his five seasons in Kansas City, Smith averaged 3,522 passing yards, 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions per season while completing 65.1% of his passes. Smith’s best season was in 2017, when he completed 67.5% of his passes for 4,042 yards with 26 touchdowns against just five interceptions. In 2015, he led the Chiefs to their first postseason victory since 1993. That win, however, is mostly overshadowed by the Chiefs’ three one-and-done postseasons with Smith under center.
Smith is 69 yards away from passing Tony Romo for 32nd on the all-time career passing list. He’s just seven touchdown passes away from becoming the 46th player in league history to throw at least 200 career touchdown passes. Smith’s 87.3 career passer rating is the 30th highest mark in league history.
While Smith is expected to make Washington’s 53-man roster, the team has already announced that Dwayne Haskins, the team’s first-round pick in the 2019 draft, will be Washington’s starter for its Week 1 matchup against the Eagles. Haskins recently lauded Smith’s mentorship as he enters his first full season as an NFL starter.
“I’m excited for Alex,” Haskins said, per Nicki Jhabvala of The Washington Post. “I hope he gets back to full 100 percent health. Whoever is in the quarterback room, I have to compete with (them), and even though he’s not really practicing with the offense, he’s still working hard, and even if we get to run against each other in competition and drills, I’m trying to make sure he gets me better and I get him better. We look at Alex as somebody who’s a mentor in the room that can help us every day as far as getting ready for who we’re playing each week and who we’re getting ready for next week.”