Alex Smith Explains Why He Returned to Football After Gruesome Leg Injury and 17 Surgeries

Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith is back after suffering a brutal leg injury in November 2018, which led to 17 surgeries. He has been cleared to play football this season and has been activated off the physically unable to perform list. It's unlikely Smith will play a down this season, but he recently explained why he decided to return to the NFL at 36 years old.

"In the NFL world, I'm an old guy," Smith said during a team broadcast. "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."

Smith suffered a compound fracture in a game against the Houston Texans, breaking his tibia aid fibula. He had 17 surgeries after contracting an infection. During that time, Smith underwent intense rehab sessions to make the leg stronger. The depth chart has not been set, but it's likely he will be the backup QB behind Dwayne Haskins.

"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 added. "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?"


Smith was the No. 1 overall pick in 2005 and was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers. He spent eight seasons with the 49ers before joining the Kansas City Chiefs. Smith made a name for himself with the Chiefs as he was named to three Pro Bowls in five seasons. He was also the NFL's passer rating leader in 2017. In 2018, the Chiefs traded Smith to Washington after the team drafted Patrick Mahomes. Before the injury, Smith threw for 2,180 yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions in 10 games.