The entire football world and beyond were awed by Alex Smith completing one of the greatest comebacks in sports history when the quarterback entered the Washington Football Team's game against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
Former President Barack Obama was inspired as well, and congratulated Smith on Monday, who he considers a friend.
And congratulations to my friend Alex Smith, for fighting back from a life-threatening injury to start at quarterback again for the Washington Football Team. It’s a testament to his strength, determination and the love and support of his family. https://t.co/R3PO0jjFbf— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) October 12, 2020
Smith, who played his first seven seasons in the NFL with the 49ers, entered Sunday's game for the first time since Week 11 of the 2018 season after sustaining a career-threatening and life-threatening leg injury against the Houston Texans. Smith had to undergo 17 surgeries, nearly had his leg amputated and battled sepsis from complications of the injury and surgeries.
The former No. 1 pick by the 49ers in the 2005 NFL Draft entered the day as Washington's No. 2 quarterback behind starter Kyle Allen. But when Allen took a hit to the helmet late in the second quarter, coach Ron Rivera had to turn to Smith. He completed 9 of his 17 pass attempts for just 37 yards and was sacked six times.
Smith called it "very surreal at first" to again take the field as a team's QB.
"To have it happen as fast as it did was probably almost a blessing," Smith told reporters on a video conference. "I knew once Kyle took that shot there was a chance of it, and [I ran] over and grabbed my helmet, ready to roll. It was kind of nice, in that sense, not having to think about it.
"You just go out there and do it."
Rivera said Allen will be Washington's starting quarterback in Week 6 if he's healthy enough, and Smith will serve as his backup. Smith believes he'll be ready if called upon, and was happy to be able to finally watch some game film of himself.
"It was great to be out there," Smith said. "I think the feeling -- the range of emotions, the good and the bad -- is why I fought so hard to come back. I think sometimes you can take it for granted, and certainly being away from it for a couple years, I've missed it.
"Good to be back in it, rolling, ... and we'll look at the film, and get better and keep moving forward."