Alex Smith cleared for big step in possible return to playing field

Less than two years after a devastating leg injury, Alex Smith has been cleared for football activity.

It’s been a turbulent recent run for the Washington NFL franchise, so good news is welcome. According to Stephania Bell of ESPN, quarterback Alex Smith has gotten clearance from his surgical team to return to full football activity.

On Nov. 18, 2018 against the Houston Texans, Smith suffered a broken fibula and tibia in his right leg. Subsequent surgery, followed by multiple surgeries to fix infections, threatened his life and, as chronicled in ESPN’s E:60 Project 11, amputation of his leg surfaced as an option. Smith’s future as a football player was quickly rendered unimportant.

As he has continued to train, Smith has been in Hawaii with his family for the last few months. He is going through COVID-19 testing, with the plan to report to the Washington team facility on Monday for a physical. The next step in terms of his practice participation will be determined from there.

Could Alex Smith play in 2020?

The 36-year old Smith’s contract runs through 2022, so it makes senses for Washington and head coach Ron Rivera to see how he looks as he continues to attempt a comeback. Dwayne Haskins is the favorite to start Week 1, with offseason acquisition Kyle Allen as the backup. Allen was acquired in a trade from the Carolina Panthers, where Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner coached him last season. That has invited the notion that Allen could be the starting quarterback, based solely on familiarity in a very abbreviated offseason, but Haskins should be the guy.

Smith still has physical hurdles to clear beyond any composition of Washington’s quarterback depth chart, so it’s all but certain he won’t play this season. But his presence in the quarterback room during the week, and possibly on the sideline during games, will have intangible value starting with Haskins’ development.

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