Gators HC Dan Mullen Reflects on Alex Smith's Reported Impending Release

Florida Gators coach Dan Mullen speaks on his close relationship with Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith and his impending release.
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The Washington Football Team will be releasing quarterback Alex Smith in the coming days, according to a report from NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.

Smith, 37, has spent the past three seasons with WFT, and was set to make a paragraph 5 salary of $18,750,000, and his release will save the Football Team around $14,700,000, according to OverTheCap.com. He returned to action last season following a catastrophic leg injury in 2018 that forced him to sit out the entire 2019 campaign.

Originally, Smith was selected No. 1 overall in the 2005 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers out of Utah, the former stomping ground of Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen, who has worked with the signal-caller plenty as the team's quarterbacks coach.

Yesterday, Mullen was asked about the news and spoke highly about his former quarterback, stating that Smith is an "unbelievable role model for people." 

"If you really dig in, if you get to know him, what a role model he is. From being a student-athlete, the success he had from being like a one or a zero star, from whatever he is to being the No. 1 pick in the draft," Mullen reflected.

"Graduating college in two years. And then goes on and helps organizations, build organizations up to championship levels. Just an unbelievable leader, unbelievable teammate.

"You’d be hard-pressed to find many guys that don’t say he’s one of the greatest teammates they’ve ever had on the field. One of the smartest people I’ve ever met and an unbelievable competitor. I think whoever gets him is going to get an unbelievable human being and a guy that obviously, one of the great comeback stories in the history of the NFL."

Smith's comeback has been highly documented, and he was recently featured on an ESPN E60 episode, showing a timeline of his injury, subsequent surgery and the grueling rehab that followed. He was also named the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year at this year's award ceremony.

Upon Smith's return, he would start six games for the Football Team, completing 168 out of 252 passes (66.7%) for 1,582 yards, six touchdowns and eight interceptions. While his production wasn't overly impressive, considering the circumstances, it was probably one of the more improbable comebacks in recent memory. 

For now, it is unclear exactly where Smith is likely to go. The Jacksonville Jaguars, headed up by coach Urban Meyer, is an easy destination to pinpoint, but there are no reports as of yet that the team is interested. Mullen himself stated on the perceived interest by the Jaguars and Meyer that he doesn't know.

To Mullen's point, the idea of Smith being a role model could be intriguing to the Jaguars who are expected to select Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the first-overall pick in this year's draft.

In any event, Mullen feels that whoever gets his former protege, is going to be well off.

"That’s something that’s unreal. Whoever gets him is going to be pretty fortunate.”