It was back in 2018 during a game against the Houston Texans when Alex Smith’s career in the NFL would come to a halt after he suffered a devastating leg injury.
From there it only got worse as Smith battled a terrible infection stemming from one of the 17 surgeries he underwent. It almost cost him his entire leg.
Despite the odds against him, Smith made his return back to the field in 2020 and not only played well enough to lead the Washington Football Team to the postseason, but he also secured the Comeback Player of the Year Award.
On the outside looking in, it appears his exit from Washington and his retirement went off without a problem, but Smith and his father believe Washington sabotaged his return to the NFL, per Sports Illustrated. According to them, the coaching staff put Smith through a whirlwind of tests to the extent that he had never experienced before in his career.
“He did not understand the tactics his coaches used to keep him sidelined. First, they placed him on the Physically Unable to Perform list, even though world-renowned doctors had pronounced him physically able to perform.
At camp, players wore GPS trackers, and none traversed 4,000 yards a day on average like Smith, whose coaches asked him to carry extra weight, push sleds and hurdle bags for drills—tasks he had never done in 15 pro seasons, let alone before his leg had to be rebuilt.
Smith believed the team wanted to see if it could break him, and if that sounds paranoid, the team physician agreed with him. They seemed to be asking, Dr. Robin West says, “What can he withstand?”
His father Doug says he believes the team ‘sabotaged’ the return, per Sports Illustrated.
Head coach Ron Rivera provided his point of view on the situation.
“I was scared to death about putting [Alex] back out there and that is something I struggled with every day. It’s unfortunate that he feels we patronized him because I can tell you that was not our intention. At the end of the day, I commend Alex because he proved everyone wrong and exceeded any reasonable expectations that anyone had set for him. He not only made it back onto the field but led us to the playoffs. It was a truly remarkable feat.”
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