Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera agrees with Alex Smith regarding his feelings of the team being hesitant to have him back after recovering from a gruesome leg injury. Smith talked about the situation in an interview with GQ Magazine, and Rivera responded to the interview to reporters on Wednesday. He admitted to being very nervous about playing Smith this past season because of the chance of him getting injured again.
"It was always in the back of my head; what if he gets hurt again? What if he hurts that leg again? I'll be the guy that put him back on the field to get him hurt again," Rivera said during a video conference call. "I struggled with that every day. That was tough." Washington recently released Smith shortly after the GQ interview. However, ESPN reported that Smith's interview didn't impact the team's decision to let him go. In the interview, Smith talked about how his return was not in Washington's plan.
"They didn't see it, didn't want me there, didn't want me to be a part of it, didn't want me to be on the team, the roster, didn't want to give me a chance," Smith told the magazine. "Mind you; it was a whole new regime, they came in; I'm like the leftovers, and I'm hurt, and I'm this liability. Smith went on to say: "Heck no, they didn't want me there. At that point, as you can imagine, everything I'd been through, I couldn't have cared less about all that. Whether you like it or not, I'm giving this a go at this point."
Before Smith was cut, he and Rivera met for breakfast. "It was very positive," Rivera said of their meeting. "We both had a chance to see the other side and perspective. I don't disagree with a lot of things he said. They were fair. The biggest thing we talked about, there was no road map to get us to where we were. I told him exactly how I felt and how hard it was for us."
Smith was named Comeback Player of the Year after playing in eight games with six starts and leading the team to an NFC East title. He played eight games and threw for 1,582 yards, six touchdowns, and eight interceptions.