Alex Smith
(Steve Helber/AP)

Alex Smith played in a real, live NFL game for the first time in almost two years this past Sunday. Give this man the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award and then name if after him. After a horrible lower leg injury that progressed into a life-threatening infection, there was little thought Smith would ever step foot on a football field again. He required seventeen surgeries to get back to the point where he could even walk again. Alex Smith didn’t have a leg. If you’ve seen ESPN’s “Project 11” documentary or seen pictures, you know what I’m talking about. The doctors said his leg looked more like a military injury than a sports injury. That’s insane.

When Smith was cleared for football activities a few weeks ago, it seemed like a pipe dream. He’s working on a leg held together with metal rods, skin grafts, and willpower. I thought he would see a few courtesy snaps in a Week 17 blowout at best – a nice sendoff for someone who worked so hard to get back into football. Who honestly thought Alex Smith would be playing meaningful snaps in a WEEK 5 GAME?

Alex Smith Is Back

Alex Smith making his return so quickly, seems to minimize the injury in many people’s minds. Look at the pictures. Watch the “Project 11” documentary. This comeback is something we should be talking about a lot more.

No, his final line wasn’t incredible. He completed 9 of 17 passes for 37 yards. The Washington Football Team lost by twenty points to the LA Rams. But this story deserves way more attention than the obligatory tweets from Bleacher Report and ESPN with the “Bless Up” praying hands emojis and surface-level comments.

Metal rods, skins grafts, and willpower. Alex Smith is back.

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