It's official: Alex Smith is taking another step towards playing in the NFL again.
The Smith family celebrated the news that their Dad and husband was returning to the NFL for the first time in 18 months.
Smith last played on November 18, 2018 and now appears set to be on the opening week 53-man roster and to compete for playing time and perhaps the starting job.
Smith and his "Project 11" rehabilitation was featured by ESPN and E:60 with Stephania Bell and clearly everyone knew that he was making progress, but most pundits thought Smith would be put on the season PUP list to give him some extra time to return.
He apparently has made so much progress that his doctors and the Washington Football Team training/ medical staff feels that he is good to return to full practices.
Who knows if they are being too aggressive or not? That's not for me to say. In the past, I would worry about it a lot more because nobody had trust that Larry Hess was doing the right thing.
Ryan Vermillion and Dr. Kevin Wilk are held in tremendous regard in the organization along with Dr. Robin West (lead medical doctor for organization & Smith) and others that cleared Smith for this absurdly unbelievable return.
Ron Rivera recently mentioned how 'fluid' Smith looked and remarked that Smith had gone through hard workouts every day and returned for more the next day.
HOT READ: Alex Smith looks fluid, says Ron Rivera
On Monday, Rivera indicated that a legitimate quarterback competition will be held: "Well, the biggest thing we’ve got to do is not make sure we’re divvying up the reps as evenly as possible, but we divvy up who they work against. This could be a very interesting challenge for us because of QB Alex Smith. If Alex is healthy and continues to get healthy and we do activate him, he’s going to be in the throes of this competition.
"It’s going to unfold very nicely as a football team for us because competition is only going to make you better. It’s going to push the young guys as well. I just feel really good about what we’re going to be doing as we start going forward. It’ll be a very challenging situation to make sure everybody’s reps are equitable, and their competition is the same.”
Now -- Washington will ramp up practice this week (pads on Tuesday) and Smith will be on the field to participate with the rest of the quarterbacks.
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Chris Russell is the Publisher of this site, a part of SI.com. He can be heard on 106.7 The FAN in the Washington D.C. area and world-wide on Radio.com. Chris also hosts the "Locked on Washington Football Team" Podcast and can be read via subscription to Warpath Magazine. You can e-mail Chris at russellmania09@Gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at @Russellmania621