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Alex Smith Takes First NFL Snaps Since Leg Injury

On Sunday afternoon, NFL quarterback, Alex Smith entered a game between the Washington Football Team and Los Angeles Rams in relief of injured starter, Kyle Allen. That game was Smith’s first since he suffered a devastating leg injury on Nov. 18, 2018.

Let’s go back to the day Alex Smith’s horrendous leg injury happened. It was Nov. 18, 2018, when Smith suffered a spiral and compound fracture to his tibia and fibula in his right leg while playing quarterback for his current team which was named the Washington Redskins at the time. Probably all those who saw the play thought they had seen the last of Alex Smith, but after a miraculous recovery he would prove them wrong.

History Repeats Itself

Joe Theismann, former NFL quarterback who won Super Bowl XVI in 1983 for Washington, knows what Smith went through– kind-of. Theismann suffered a “career-ending leg injury” in 1985 when he was hit by New York Giants’ hall-of-fame linebacker, Lawrence Taylor.

In this article in The Charlotte Observer, New Jersey-native Theismann explained why Smith’s injury was different from his.

“The severity of the situation his leg wound up in, with the surgeries and infection, was so much different from mine. He went through so much more than I did.”

When Washington’s starter went down, Alex Smith took the field Sunday against Aaron Donald and the vaunted Los Angeles’ Rams defense. Donald is one of the NFL’s fiercest defensive player and gave Smith hell on Sunday. Smith was sacked six times, including this one where Donald jumped on his back.

Smith’s Family Breathes a Sigh of Relief

Washington’s head coach, Ron Rivera consulted with team doctors, who “approved” Smith’s entry.

It was the 36-year-old’s first start since 2018 and he described what it felt like to receive his first hit since coming back.

“I’ve waited a long time for this, but the first one felt good, it was nice to know you’re fine and it was nice to knock the cobwebs off.”

According to Smith, the Washington Football club allowed the players’ family members to attend the game for the first time. He revealed how comforting it was to have them at the game supporting him from the stands.

“I appreciated them being there. I know my wife felt better about things by being here and it was very cool to have my kids there.”

The Message Behind Smith’s Comeback

NBC Sports Washington broke the news that Peter King nominated Smith for “Offensive Comeback Player of Week 5” in the “Football Morning in America” column.

The recovery was a slow one, full of twists and turns, just like Smith’s return was full of scary moments, but Smith accomplished a feat that even greats who came before him could not do.

Washington may have lost the game 30-10, but that does not diminish the significance of Alex Smith’s comeback. It sends a message to everyone who watched him make that comeback which might go like this: if someone says you can’t accomplish something, but you want to try, leave it all out on the field.

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Anthony Paradiso
Anthony Paradiso has written for In The Zone since June, 2019. Anthony coaches high school ice hockey and covers local sports in Greenwich Village for West View News, as a reporter and columnist. A graduate of Montclair State University, currently, he co-hosts a sports talk show on the University's radio station, 90.3 FM WMSC.

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