Earnhardt Jr. ‘holding my breath’ when Alex Smith takes the field originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
As inspiring as his return to the NFL was, Alex Smith hasn’t convinced everyone that he’s the answer at quarterback for the Washington Football Team moving forward.
Former NASCAR Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. sat down with NBC Sports Washington’s J.P. Finlay for the Washington Football Talk podcast and discussed his thoughts on Smith’s long-term role with the team.
“I love Alex as a locker room guy and I think without the injury, he’s still the starting quarterback of this team,” Earnhardt said. “But if he goes out to the field to play, I’m holding my breath on the next hit or the wrong hit. At his age, with everything that he has in front of him with his life, I don’t know that he’s the answer for me. I don’t know if he’s the future of this team.”
Smith made it back onto the field in Week 5, 693 days after he suffered multiple fractures in his leg while being tackled during a game in 2018. He underwent 17 separate surgeries after an infection nearly cost him his leg and his life.
Earnhardt knows what it’s like to see someone lose everything for a sporting event. His father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., was killed in a crash during the Daytona 500 in 2001. But even though Smith is Washington’s No. 2 quarterback after Dwayne Haskins’s benching, Earnhardt Jr. isn’t convinced that he or anyone else in the Washington QB room represents the future under center.
“Maybe he gets a year down the road to get to that quarterback we want to find,” Earnhardt said. “I don’t know that the starting quarterback for next year is on this team. If anybody, it might be Dwayne.”
This weekend on NBC, Saturday Night in Primetime, college football's best collide as #1 Clemson takes on #4 Notre Dame followed by an all-new Saturday Night Live.
On Sunday, NASCAR crowns a champion in Phoenix at 3 p.m. Then it's Drew Brees & the Saints versus Tom Brady and the Bucs on Sunday Night Football, coverage begins with Football Night In America at 7 p.m.