It's been quite the journey for Alex Smith in recent years as he prepares to start for Washington in Week 17 on Sunday.
Smith suffered a catastrophic leg injury in November 2018, necessitating a string of surgeries that nearly cost him his leg. The former No. 1 overall draft pick missed the entire 2019 season amid a grueling rehab, but he now has a chance to bring Washington to the playoffs on Sunday night with a win over the Eagles. And regardless of Sunday's result, Smith likely has Comeback Player of the Year locked up.
Washington's quarterback has left his leg injury in the rearview mirror from a performance standpoint, but it still appears to be fresh in his mind entering Week 17. Smith's wife, Elizabeth, shared a photo of Smith's recovery brace on Sunday, with the brace shaped in the form of the Lombardi Trophy. It seems as though Smith has taken at least a modicum of inspiration from what is likely the worst moment of his career.
Washington remains a significant long shot to reach the Super Bowl, but a win on Sunday would represent a legitimate turning point for the franchise. Washington entered 2020 with a four-year playoff drought, failing to win a postseason game in each of the last 14 seasons. Perhaps with Smith at the helm, a postseason win will come in Washington sooner than later.
Washington will host Philadelphia on Sunday night at 7:20 p.m. ET. A win will place Smith and Co. in the playoffs, while a loss will give the Giants the NFC East crown after Sunday's win over the Cowboys.