Alex Smith Refutes Retirement Rumors, Aims to Play Again After Gruesome Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2019

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 24: Alex Smith #11 of the Washington Redskins looks on before the game against the Detroit Lions at FedExField on November 24, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith aims to continue playing after missing the entire 2019 NFL season after fracturing his right fibula and tibia in November 2018. 

On Monday, Smith addressed speculation he'd transition into a front-office role with the team.

"Has there ever been a GM and quarterback?" he said, per NBC Sports Washington's Ethan Cadeaux. "I love all the rumor mill and all the stuff that circulates out there. My focus is to get out there and play again. ... I still have dreams of getting back to where I was and getting back out there. This has been a crazy ride with a lot of unforeseen turns, but without a doubt, that's still my goal."

Redskins owner Dan Snyder announced Monday that team president Bruce Allen had been fired.

The Washington Post's Les Carpenter wrote Dec. 16 that Smith was often sitting with Snyder during games, which led those outside the team to question whether Smith was positioning himself as Allen's possible replacement.

Rhiannon Walker @InstantRHIplay

Bruce Allen was walking in the opposite direction from team owner Dan Snyder and Alex Smith

Carpenter spoke to a source who ultimately echoed Smith's recent comments, saying he was focused on playing again and "not actively seeking an executive role."

Smith addressed his absence on the sideline throughout the year, saying it was tied to his continued recovery:

"Certainly, there was a long time I couldn't even be on the sidelines. Medically, it wasn't safe for me to be down there. Yeah, it was a different perspective to be in the coaches' box for part of the year, to be in the box with Mr. Snyder. I'm very appreciative with everything they've given me throughout this process. A lot of it goes unnoticed."

Assuming Smith gets the green light to return ahead of the 2020 regular season, he may have to settle for the backup role. Washington selected Dwayne Haskins with the 15th overall pick in the 2019 draft, positioning the former Ohio State star as the quarterback of the future.

Haskins struggled early on, which was to be expected of a player with only one year of starting experience in college. He made strides as the year went on and went 31-of-43 for 394 yards and four touchdowns in his final two starts before an ankle injury ended his season.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Ron Rivera is expected to be the head coach, replacing Jay Gruden.

Hiring an experienced coach with a proven track record sends the message the Redskins aren't looking to trigger a full-scale rebuild. However, they also have to consider Haskins' development, and replacing him with Smith in 2020 may cause him to go backward.