Seventeen surgeries and 693 days after his catastrophic leg injury, Alex Smith was back.
America went wild as the Washington quarterback made his first appearance in the NFL since horrifically breaking his fibula and tibia in 2018 against the Houston Texans — an issue that took a scary turn after an infection nearly forced doctors to amputate.
At one stage there were even fears he’d die from the complication.
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But after starting play-caller Kyle Allen went down injured during the second quarter of Washington’s game against the Los Angeles Rams, Smith entered the fray and received a standing ovation from those who mattered most — his family.
The star’s wife Elizabeth nervously held her hands to her face as Smith warmed up, then broke out into applause alongside the couple’s children as they celebrated the end of one of the NFL’s most high-profile lay-offs in history.
The pure relief written all over Elizabeth’s face as Smith completed his remarkable comeback — and got through the game unscathed — was a fair reflection of how the rest of America felt in the most touching moment we’ll see this season.
We are all Elizabeth, Alex Smith’s wife, right now #WashingtonFootball pic.twitter.com/QKGgvcjcDx
Standing O from the Smith Fam 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/h6TTMSQRWu
Elizabeth, and the rest of America, was overcome with relief.Source:Twitter
Smith, playing with a titanium rod inserted into his leg, completed nine of 17 passes for 37 yards as the Rams outclassed Washington 30-10. But this game was about so much more than the result.
“I’d be lying if I said there weren’t a lot of days where I didn’t think it was going to happen,” Smith said after the game, even if his comeback did arrive in less-than-ideal circumstances.
“Not necessarily envisioning coming off the bench or the downpour (of rain) … a quarterback’s worst nightmare,” he added.
Many thought Smith’s career was over and even Washington insiders doubted he would ever make it back — especially after watching a documentary that explored all the gruesome details about his harrowing journey.
But he was determined to get back on the field and convinced everyone in Washington that at 36, the time was right.
Social media was full of tributes, led by NFL legend and Washington icon Joe Theismann.
“Incredible story,” Theismann tweeted.
Former Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee wrote: “Alex Smith just played football in the NFL again … absolutely INSANE.”
ALEX SMITH 🙌🏽🙌🏽
Huge moment for Alex Smith today. Incredible to witness something like that play out in person. Nothing but respect for him completing his comeback journey.
You’re not human if you don’t feel some sort of way seeing Alex Smith under center in Washington.
If you haven’t seen it you need to watch @Stephania_ESPN “Project 11” film to know what an incredible accomplishment him playing again is.
Everyone seeing Alex Smith back out on the field again: pic.twitter.com/eyWg8Neelb
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