He's been the backup quarterback for the Washington Football team for the past month. Throughout that time, Alex Smith has been serving as mentor to starter Kyle Allen, helping guide the promising second-year player to new heights.
But rather than just helping guide Allen on the field, Smith will now be pulling double-duty for the remainder of the season. Smith will be not only be serving as Washington's starting quarterback moving forward, he will be helping Allen with the mental aspect of dealing with a serious injury.
Smith replaced Allen in the first quarter of Washington's game against the New York Giants when Allen suffered a dislocated ankle and small fracture. Despite throwing three interceptions, Smith did complete 24-of-32 passes for 325 yards and a touchdown and gave Washington a chance to win it in the fourth quarter before losing 23-20.
"It always feels good to throw a touchdown," Smith told the Washington Football team site postgame. "It had been a really long time. I didn't do much on that one. Terry obviously helped me out and made an amazing play. But yeah, I feel great."
According to ESPN, Allen is expected to undergo surgery in the upcoming weeks for his serious injury. He's expected to miss the remainder of the season, paving way for Smith to start at quarterback.
"We have the ball in a veteran guy's hands, a guy that I saw who was working out very, very hard and was trying to come back," Washington head coach Ron Rivera said Monday. "Given who he is and the way he came back, it doesn't surprise me to a degree that he's got an opportunity and he earned an opportunity."
If anyone can relate to what Allen is currently going through and what he's going to go through, it would be Smith. His own journey in returning to the field, let alone resuming the starting quarterback position, is nothing short of a miracle based in perseverance.
Smith tragically broke his leg on Nov. 18, 2018, fracturing his tibia and fibula in his right leg when Houston Texans star defensive lineman JJ Watt sacked him from behind and fell on his leg in an incredibly awkward manner.
Following 17 surgeries and a near amputation, Smith made the Washington's 53-man as a third-string quarterback behind starter Dwayne Haskins and backup Allen. After Haskins fell out of favor and was demoted to third string, Smith moved up to the backup role.
Smith then saw his first action in nearly two years when he replaced an injured Allen against the Rams in Week 5. He went 9-for-17 for 37 yards as Washington racked up just 108 yards of total offense in the second half.
"You have a very veteran quarterback who has helped nurture some good young quarterbacks," Washington head coach Ray Rivera said of Smith. "He's showed them how to prepare and study for a game. This is good for Dwayne (Haskins). He'll get an opportunity to see how to truly prepare for a game as a starter and hopefully Dwayne will take it that this is an opportunity to learn and grow. He may get an opportunity again shortly. He has to be ready and prepare as if he's one play away."
Smith will enter Week 9 as Washington's starting quarterback and at just 2-6, in the midst of the NFC East race. Philadelphia currently leads the division at 3-4-1, and Washington will end the season with a game against the Eagles in Philadelphia.
Just returning to the field should be enough to win the NFL Comeback Player of the Year. But if Smith could somehow lead Washington to a playoff berth in the process, well sometimes you just can't right perfect endings such as these.
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