Making it back to the field during the 2020 NFL season was the goal for Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith. After a gruesome leg injury in 2018 that required 17 surgeries and threatened amputation, some believed he’d never play in the NFL again.
Smith didn’t buy it. His storybook season showed not only that he had what it took to get back to where he once was, but that he has it in him to continue to compete at the highest level.
“This year has only emboldened for me, that I can play at this level,” Smith said on CBS’s “60 Minutes” news program on Sunday.
In 2020, Smith’s performance went beyond just the fact that he was able to take snaps under center in a football game. He was a crucial part of Washington’s success that led to an NFC East title.
Going 5-1 as a starter, his leadership and ability to command the offense was obvious. With him under center, Washington’s unit looked more smooth and complete for a majority of his time as the starter. Though his mobility was hampered, Smith was still able to move the ball and hit his receivers accurately.
His lack of movement outside the pocket may be a slight problem, but he showed enough to confirm his own personal belief that he can continue to be a quarterback in the NFL.
The only negative component of Smith’s 2020 journey was a late-season injury that forced him to miss Week 15 and 16 as well as the team’s NFC Wild Card matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Though it had been diagnosed as a calf injury, CBS’ Norah O’Donnell noted that Smith was dealing with a bone bruise to the surgically-repaired leg.
That injury, as well as the entire perspective that his most recent season brought, will lead Smith to take some time before deciding what his next move will be.
Whether Smith opts to give it another go in 2021 or not, a feeling that he can no longer play at an elite level will not be the factor in his choice. With all the adversity he’s faced, and how he’s still been able to succeed in the NFL, it’s clear to Smith that he has what it takes to continue his football career.