Alex Smith did the unthinkable as he played in an NFL game on Sunday after being out of action for nearly two years due to a severe leg injury. The NFL world and beyond showed support for the Washington Football Team quarterback on Sunday, including former President Barack Obama. This week, Obama went to Twitter to congratulate Smith on his comeback.
"Congratulations to my friend Alex Smith, for fighting back from a life-threatening injury to start at quarterback again for the Washington Football Team," Obama wrote. "It's a testament to his strength, determination and the love and support of his family." Smith suffered the brutal leg injury on Nov. 18, 2018, which led to him having 17 surgeries. He made his return on Sunday as he replaced an injured Kyle Allen in the second quarter. Washington lost to the Los Angeles Rams, but Smith was the player of the game.
"It was great to be out there," Smith said on the team's official website. "The feeling, the range of emotions -- the good and the bad — is why I fought so hard to come back. I think sometimes you can take it for granted, and certainly being away from it for a couple of years, I've missed it. So good to be back in it rolling, and like I said, we'll look at the film and get better and keep moving forward." Because of his story, Smith is the clear-cut favorite to win Comeback Player of the Year. If he remains the starter, which is possible, he could have a chance to lead Washington to a playoff berth.
Washington coach Ron Rivera told reporters as long as Allen is healthy, Smith will be the backup QB. But he was happy with the way he played on Sunday. "I realized the gravity of it," Rivera said of Smith's return as reported by ESPN, "but I also realized he's a football player who has been waiting for his opportunity. He got his opportunity and he did a good job. I was very pleased with what I saw. He was put in a very difficult position, and I thought he handled himself very well." Smith was drafted No. 1 overall by the San Francisco 49ers in 2005. He spent eight seasons with the 49ers before joining the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013, where he was a three-time Pro Bowler. He was traded to Washington in 2018.