Burleson has Smith as Comeback Player of the Year ‘right now’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Alex Smith was the story of the NFL’s Week 5 when he made an unprecedented return to the field two years after a gruesome leg injury that should have ended his career.
Even though his performance wasn’t anything to write home about — which is what happens when you get sacked six times — but just the fact that he was able to take the field had Peter King awarding him the Offensive Player of the Week.
But why stop there? NFL Network’s Nate Burleson talked on Good Morning Football about how Smith has already secured the league’s Comeback Player of the Year award.
“I’ll take Alex Smith as the Comeback Player of the Year right now,” Burleson said on Monday. “This was an injury that, it transcended rehabbing and trying to get back on the field to ball out for your squad. You started hearing all these reports about him possibly losing his leg, him fighting just to keep his leg, forget about playing again.”
It didn’t matter that Smith was 34 years old and nearing the end of his career when he got hurt. It didn’t matter that he nearly lost his leg after complications from surgery. It didn’t matter he wasn’t guaranteed a second of playing time if eh came back.
He wanted to play football again in any capacity, and now with Washington’s quarterback situation, has a chance to get plenty of snaps.
“After 11 years in the NFL, let me be very transparent with the people at home,” he said. “I’ve seen dudes mail it in over a turf toe, an ankle sprain. I’ve seen guys have the most insignificant of injuries, call them soft if you want, and his the sideline and be so comfortable outside of the game. For Alex Smith to fight and fight and fight despite things that were said, including me, who said, ‘Alex you played the game right, do not come back. Go ahead and enjoy the rest of your life.’ Forget what I said, forget what everybody else said. The fact that he was out there, that right there shows just how tough football players are.”
Few would’ve predicted Smith to see the field ever again, let alone Week 5 of the 2020 campaign. And even so, everyone watching him most likely cringes or holds their breath every time he takes a hit out of concern for his health.
But some guys are just built differently, and all Sunday did was confirm what we already knew about Smith.
“Sometimes we get described as ‘divas,’ and ‘soft’ or ‘spoiled’ but then there’s guys that are just as hardcore as anybody else on this earth,” he said. “Shout out to Alex Smith.”