The story of Alex Smith is more than just your normal story of coming back from injury to overcome adversity on the football field.
Typically, when a third-string quarterback is called in to start a game, it doesn’t make much news but simply is a statement of the condition of an NFL team. Alex Smith isn’t any typical third-string quarterback and his story is one that’s special.
The Beginning of What Should be a Great NFL Career
The 2005 NFL draft began with the San Francisco 49ers choosing Alex Smith as the top pick. Much is expected of a number one overall draft pick and the 49ers thought they had their man. Not long after being picked, Smith was on the field as the starting quarterback for his team, which was built around him to create a team that could go deep into the playoffs.
Replaced and Relegated
In 2011, Colin Kaepernick was drafted in the second round by the San Francisco 49ers. He was slated to be the backup to Alex Smith, but when Smith suffered a concussion in the middle of the 2012 season, Kaepernick found himself in the starting role and led the 49ers to the Super Bowl. Smith never found the starting job again for the 49ers.
Alex Smith Traded to the Kansas City Chiefs
After a tough start to his career in San Francisco, Alex Smith was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs and let this team to a 9-0 start under head coach Andy Reid. It seemed Smith’s career was back on track. During his time with the Chiefs, he led the league in passer rating in 2017 and was named to three Pro Bowls. Even so, he was replaced by Patrick Mahomes and then traded to the Washington Football Team (then Redskins) where he would become the starter once again.
2018 Was Going Well for Alex Smith
As part of the Washington Football Team, Alex Smith was playing well and leading the team to several wins during the 2018 season. Everything seemed to be going well, but on November 18, everything changed for Alex Smith, which created a story of more than simply overcoming being replaced by head coaches during a career.
Injured Beyond Any Expectation of a Return
While playing against the Houston Texans on November 18, 2018, Alex Smith was tackled and his right leg was caught at an awkward angle. Smith suffered a compound fracture that broke both the tibia and fibula in his right leg. This break was bad enough, but more trouble was on the way for the quarterback that was once on the top of the draft board.
Infections Complications for Alex Smith
While the two breaks in his leg would require surgery, what would happen next wasn’t something anyone expected to take place. An infection set into the injury in Smith’s leg and it carried a flesh-eating bacteria with it, which caused many more surgeries to be required. It took 16 additional surgeries for the leg to be fully on the way to recovery, but that was just the beginning
Extensive Therapy to Get Back in Playing Shape
While Alex Smith himself stated he was grateful to be walking and his wife has said many times she just wanted her husband back after each of the surgeries, Smith had a goal in mind. Even though he could have lost his leg, his life, and certainly his playing career, Alex wanted to find a way back to the field. This led him to physical therapy with some of the military’s top doctors who were able to equate this injury and the therapy needed for soldiers injured on the battlefield.
Cleared as Backup Quarterback
Although the Washington Football team cleared Smith to play on August 16, 2020, they took it slow with him during training camp. Smith might be the most talented quarterback in the Washington roster, but the team didn’t want to put him back on the field and risk reinjury to his leg prematurely.
Back in the Saddle and Surefire Comeback Player of the Year
On October 11, 2020, Alex Smith entered the game when Kyle Allen was injured. He was also put in the game on November 8 after Allen suffered a serious leg injury. With Dwayne Haskins on the bench and Kyle Allen injured, the Alex Smith injury story could come full circle. On November 15, 2020, Alex Smith started the game for the Washington Football Team for the first time in nearly two years.
His path to this start is one of perseverance and overcoming adversity. ESPN has done an E60 story about his journey called Project 11 –The Alex Smith Story, which is worth watching for anyone who wants to see an amazing story.