Alex Smith: NFL 2021 Comeback Player of the Year

Javier Sarmiento Jr, Staff Writer

In 2018, NFL Player Alex Smith was traded from the Kansas City Chiefs to the Washington Football team for a third-round pick. He transitioned to a new team best suited for his style of play. Smith is a three-time pro bowler, as well as a franchise leader in yards and in touchdowns.  He is a starter for a reason, with sixteen years of NFL experience.  

Here is a synopsis of how good Alex was before the injury. He holds 2 NFL records, 158.3 passer rating (perfect game) in Week 15, 2013 and the most passes to start a season without throwing an interception (287, 2017.) With the San Francisco 49ers, he held several franchise records. He had the most game-winning drives in a single season with 6 in 2011 as well as the most 4th Quarter comeback wins in a single season with 6. With the Kansas City Chiefs, he held several franchise records as well.   He has the most rushing yards by a quarterback in a season: 498 (2015), previously: 431 (2013).  He has the most passing touchdowns in a playoff game: 4 (2013–14 divisional playoffs vs Colts) He has the most consecutive passes without an interception: 312 (Week 3–Week 14, 2015) 2nd all-time in NFL history.   

On November 18, 2018, Smith was tackled and suffered a compound spiral fracture that broke the tibia and fibula in his right leg. The injury drew parallels to former Washington Football Team quarterback Joe Theismann, who also broke his leg in a game 33 years to the day prior in 1985. It became worse for Smith as he suffered necrotizing fasciitis, an infection of bacteria during recovery.  

 After the procedure to fix the compound fracture, he needed sixteen more surgeries for his leg to be fully recovered. He wore a special titanium brace that was installed on his leg to help with the healing process. If immediate attention wasn’t put to this, there was a chance that his knee could have been amputated. 

He missed the entire 2019 NFL season due to the injury and prepared for rehab. Nine months later he is walking without crutches, as seen in a video that surfaced online from his team. On July 24, 2020, he was cleared by his medical team to return to the field. On November 20, 2020, he earned his first win against the Cincinnati Bengals on November 11, 2018.  

He wasn’t done yet. During the 2020-21 NFL season, he led the Washington Football Team to the playoffs, something that hasn’t happened in five years. Not to mention, they won the NFC East division, something that hasn’t happened in five years as well. Furthermore, at the NFL Honors show, which premiers the day before the super bowl, Alex smith was awarded the NFL 2021 Comeback Player of the Year 

What an incredible comeback it was! A lot of people in his situation would’ve quit and called it a career. Suffering from a gruesome injury like that, it is a miracle to live your life as it was before. Moreover, this was a life-threatening injury that could have cost him his life. He showed the heart of a champion by never giving up despite the enormous obstacles in front of him.  As an athlete, I salute you, Alex. As a champion anyone can look up to, I know you inspire others as you have inspired me. 

Sources:

O’Donnell, N. (n.d.). Washington football Team qb Alex SMITH’S comeback from nearly losing his leg. Retrieved February 17, 2021, from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-alex-smith-comeback-2021-01-17/  

Alex Smith Stats. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2021, from https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/S/SmitAl03.htm  

Krimmel, B. (2021, January 04). Alex Smith’s journey: From life-threatening injury to NFC East title. Retrieved February 17, 2021, from https://www.radio.com/thefandc/sports/washington-football-team/alex-smith-from-life-threatening-injury-to-nfc-east-title  

Alex Smith. (n.d.). Retrieved February 17, 2021, from https://americanfootballdatabase.fandom.com/wiki/Alex_Smith  

Walker, S. (2020, May 01). Former Utah qb Alex Smith opens up about GRUESOME leg injury in ESPN special. Retrieved February 17, 2021, from https://www.ksl.com/article/46747788/former-utah-qb-alex-smith-opens-up-about-gruesome-leg-injury-in-espn-special  

Walker, S. (2021, February 06). 2 years after LIFE-THREATENING leg Injury, Alex Smith Wins Comeback Player of the year. Retrieved February 17, 2021, from https://www.ksl.com/article/50102738/2-years-after-life-threatening-leg-injury-alex-smith-wins-comeback-player-of-the-year  

Berra, L. (2021, January 05). Inside Alex Smith’s long, painful road back to the NFL. Retrieved February 17, 2021, from https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a34930307/alex-smith-leg-injury-nfl-comeback/