The story of Alex Smith will always be one that tugs on the heartstrings.
After suffering a gruesome leg injury back in 2018, Smith made a miraculous return to the field in 2020. If you know anything about the Washington quarterback’s story, it should come as no surprise that he’s been named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
In a touching video tribute, Joe Theismann narrated Smith’s incredible comeback journey and announced the award. After the tribute, countless players and coaches chimed in with their own messages of support.
One notable feature was Smith’s former Utah head coach Urban Meyer.
“Hey, Alex. This is your old coach,” Meyer said. “I’m one of your greatest admirers. You’re an inspiration to me, you always have been — from that skinny 190 lbs quarterback that took over and became the best player in college football in 2004. Love you. I always knew you were extremely tough but I had no idea until I saw that documentary about you and your family and how you overcame this. I can’t imagine there’s a better fan club out there than the Meyer family for Alex Smith. Love you bro.”
The NFL Twitter account posted the video on Sunday afternoon. Meyer quickly responded with another message of support.
“Beyond Love and Respect to Alex and Elizabeth Smith!” Meyer wrote.
Beyond Love and Respect to Alex and Elizabeth Smith! https://t.co/0kWFBoaLOM
— Urban Meyer (@CoachUrbanMeyer) February 7, 2021
In November of 2018, Smith suffered one of the worst leg injuries the league has ever seen. With compound fractures in both his tibia and fibula, the Washington QB had to go through 17 surgeries and over 9 months of hospital stays to repair the leg. At one point during recovery, Smith developed a life-threatening infection that had his doctors seriously considering amputation.
When you hear all this, his return to the league in 2020 is baffling. Even more baffling is the success he enjoyed in his first year back.
Through eight games and six starts for the Washington Football Team this year, Smith collected 1,582 yards and six touchdowns en route to a 5-1 record.
Unfortunately, Smith’s comeback season was cut short yet again by a nagging calf injury on the same leg. The QB will reportedly take a few weeks to mull over his future NFL options this offseason.
Whether he returns in 2021 or not, Smith’s story will remain one of the greatest comebacks in sports history.