WATCH: Washington Football Team’s Alex Smith Speaks on Journey Behind NFL Comeback

by Thad Mitchell
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

In one of the National Football League’s top feel good stories of the year, quarterback Alex Smith returned to the field.

The Washington Football Team quarterback’s career was believed by many to be over a few seasons ago. Smith suffered a devastating leg injury that nearly cost him his leg and put his life in jeopardy at one point.

With the support of his loving family, Smith went on a remarkable journey to find the playing field once again. Not only did Smith make a complete recovery but he played well in his return to the Football Team’s starting lineup. He led the team to a playoff berth this season, losing in the first round to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Washington’s starting quarterback for the first half of the season was Kyle Allen. After Allen suffered a gruesome injury at the hands of the New York Giants, Smith took his place to the disbelief of many. A week later, Smith would start his first NFL game in more than 700 days. His journey back to the field was an inspiration to many, including ESPN personality Field Yates.

“For the first time in 728 days, Alex Smith will start a game day,” Yates says in a tweet. “To nearly losing his life and 17 surgeries to returning to the field, driven in part by a desire to show his children the importance to giving it their all in life. Inspiring on a lot of levels.”

Alex Smith Talks About Long Road Back to the Field

Speaking recently with news program 60 Minutes, Smith details the motivations behind his journey. Smith defies odds to make what 60 Minutes calls “one of the greatest comebacks in sports history.”

Smith was once the first overall NFL draft pick by the San Francisco 49ers in 2002. Prior to the injury, the quarterback was named to three Pro Bowls.

Smith underwent eight operations in 10 days as medical professionals tried to save his leg and his life.

“We were in the hospital approximately a month,” Smith recalls. “They had to remove quite a bit of muscle and tissue from my lower leg– in order to– to get the infection under control.”

Smith also notes in the interview that doctors told him they might have to amputate his leg. That never came to pass and Smith went on to make a full recovery.

The quarterback had a good year once taking the reins of the Washington Football Team. He threw for 1,582 yards and six touchdowns on the season.