Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith said he heard plenty of people wonder why he would want to make this comeback.
Almost two years removed from a compound leg fracture that required multiple surgeries after a life-threatening infection, Smith is one day away from hitting the practice field in full pads.
"In the NFL world, I'm an old guy," Smith said Monday during a team broadcast of why he pushed to return. "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."
Washington quarterback Alex Smith in action on Nov 18, 2018. (Photo: Geoff Burke, USA TODAY Sports)
Smith suffered a compound fracture during a November 2018 game against the Houston Texans, breaking his tibia and fibula. He underwent 17 surgeries after he contracting the infection.
Since the surgeries, Smith had undergone a rigorous rehabilitation to strengthen the leg.
Smith was activated off of the physically unable to perform list Sunday, clearing his return to full contact drills. Washington's first practice in full pads is set for Tuesday.
"I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to put that jersey on the last two days and go out there and try to do it," Smith continued. "For me it's taking on that challenge. I don't think it's something that I can walk away from and be able to sleep at 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. It comes in different forms. Was I going to talk about it or be about it?"
On August 4, head coach Ron Rivera said he had been so impressed with Smith's progress that he "can envision" Smith factoring into a quarterback competition with second-year passer and incumbent starter Dwayne Haskins.
"However this comes out, I'm going to be better off for it," Smith said. "I continue to make gains. I continue to get better, even in these last few weeks. That continues to excite me, that I can keep pushing on. At some point I'll find out what my limitations are, but I haven't found them yet."
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