After a gruesome leg injury that almost killed him in 2018, Washington quarterback Alex Smith is ready to return to football. It was made official by the team on Sunday when they activated Smith off the physically unable to perform list.
While he’s ready to make his comeback, oddsmakers aren’t sure if he will start for the Washington Football Team. The team has him listed behind Dwayne Haskins on the official depth chart.
As of Tuesday, the Westgate didn’t even have him listed among the betting options for NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is the favorite at 4/1. New England Patriot Cam Newton is next at 5/1.
Odds to Win NFL Comeback Player of the Year
Bovada has Smith listed at 12/1, well behind co-favorites Roethlisberger and Newton, who are at 3/1 at the offshore betting site.
Washington’s head coach, Ron Rivera, has hinted that the quarterback position is still open, telling a local radio show that Smith will compete for the starting job.
“As we go through this process of you wanting to return, you have to show that you can protect yourself,” Rivera said. “And by that I mean, being able to lose tacklers and being able to move your feet. That’s the important thing more so than anything else. The only way you can get back to that is through practice, through workouts. So far, things have been going very well, and we’ll continue to see how things unfold.”
Smith Comeback “Inspirational”
Riviera did say that Smith’s return has been “inspirational.”
“If Alex can come back for play for us that’s the bonus,” Rivera said.
It almost seemed impossible that Smith would return to football after his horrific leg injury. On Nov. 18, 2018, Smith was leading Washington down the field to cut into Houston’s 17-7 lead in the third quarter. The ball was at the 24-yard line when Smith dropped back to pass. He was sacked by Kareem Jackson and suffered a broken fibula and tibia in his left leg.
Smith contracted four different infections in his leg, including one that was classified as flesh-eating bacteria. Doctors thought they were going to have to amputate his leg just to save his life. Seventeen surgeries and aggressive physical therapy saved his limb.
No Doubt Smith Would Return
While many thought the 36-year-old was finished with football, Smith was determined to return. It took 22 months, but Sunday was the culmination of all of the work Smith put in to play football once again.
Today was a good day 👏 pic.twitter.com/2MD4C4UJpI
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) August 16, 2020
Regardless of whether he plays another down of football, Smith knows he’s already completed one goal many thought he never would. He continued his journey back on Tuesday by practicing in full pads.
“In the NFL world, I’m an old guy,” Smith said Monday. “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.”