It’s hard to beat Alex Smith‘s return to the field as the best story of the 2020 NFL season. The Washington Football Team quarterback helped the team get on track after a rough stint with Dwayne Haskins under center, ultimately steering them to the NFC East title and playoffs.
Whether Smith should return for the 2021 season is a real debate. He ended the year injured once again, dealing with a lingering calf injury. Taylor Heinicke ultimately started the Wild Card round game against eventual Super Bowl champions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, giving the team one of the best fights they had throughout the playoffs.
Smith deflected questions about his future after the game. Earlier this month, it was reported that he wants to play one more year. Now, he’s confirmed as much, even though no official decision is in.
During an interview with Kyle Brandt for The Ringer, Smith said that the 2020 season “only fueled him more” to give it one more shot. He still needs to discuss it with his wife, but right now it sounds like he’s planning for at least one more season.
“Obviously, it was unfortunate at the end to get the bone contusion and struggling with that the last couple weeks, but for me, it was completely unrelated to obviously my prior injury,” Alex Smith said, when asked about the issues that ended his 2020 season prematurely. “So I’m excited, I’m excited to see what I can do this offseason. I feel like I’ve got a list of things, football-wise and just life that I want to go do that I’ve been wondering about ever since I broke my leg and wondering if I’d ever do again. I want to go chase those down this offseason.
“Obviously, I’ll take some time here and sit down with my wife—she deserves obviously quite a bit of input in this—and then go from there. So no rush to make that decision here tomorrow, but just kind of want to get into this offseason. I still feel like I’ve got a lot of room for growth on the field, based off what happened this last year.”
After the horrific injury that Smith suffered in 2018, there were some doubts that doctors would be able to save his leg, much less get him back to a place where he could play football again. 17 surgeries and less than two years later, he put together a pretty impressive eight games all things considered, throwing for 1,582 yards, six touchdowns, and eight interceptions and completing 66.7-percent of his throws. The Washington Football Team was 5-1 in his six starts.
With Haskins gone, the franchise needs to figure out its future at the position. There are five or six potential first-round quarterbacks in this year’s NFL Draft, and a number of veterans could be available via trade. If the team opts for a younger guy, it may have a year of Alex Smith to help groom him, as he did with Patrick Mahomes for a year with the Kansas City Chiefs. Of course, no one would blame the 2020 Comeback Player of the Year for a second if he changes his mind, but right now he still has his mind on a 17th NFL season.