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Alex Smith: 'I'm Going to Be Better Off' After Facing Adversity with Leg Injury

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2020

FILE - In this Sept. 23, 2019, file photo, Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith stands on the field before an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears in Landover, Md. Quarterback Alex Smith was activated Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020 off the physically unable to perform list by Washington’s NFL team, the latest step in his remarkable recovery after his right leg was broken in two places during a game nearly two years ago. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith said he believes he's "better off" for having overcome a devastating compound leg fracture in 2018 that threatened his life.

Smith spoke about his recovery in a video on the team's website (3:04 mark):

"We all face adversity in life. It comes in different forms. Was I going to talk about it or be about it? ... However this comes out, I'm going to be better off for it. I continue to make gains. I continue to get better, even in these last few weeks. For me, that continues to excite me, that I can keep pushing on. And at some point, I'll find out where my limitations are, but I haven't found them yet.

Smith was medically cleared by doctors to return to football activities and was activated off the physically unable to perform list by Washington on Sunday, a stunning development after his injury two years ago.

NFL on ESPN @ESPNNFL

Alex Smith is back on the field in Washington 👏 (via @WashingtonNFL) https://t.co/Us1agqGZpA

So serious was Smith's condition that his fracture led to the bone piercing his skin, requiring screws and plates inserted into the leg. Things worsened from there, as he was diagnosed with post-surgery sepsis and necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating bacteria) that threatened both his leg and his life. 

But Smith was able to avoid amputation and underwent 17 surgeries in a nine-month period. Now, shockingly, he'll have the chance to make Washington's team and perhaps even compete for a starting gig. 

"If Alex is healthy and continues to get healthy and we do activate him, he's going to be in the throes of this competition," Washington head coach Ron Rivera told reporters last week. "It's going to unfold very nicely as a football team for us because competition is only going to make you better. It's going to push the young guys as well."

Dwayne Haskins will be expected to win the starting job, with Kyle Allen serving as his backup, but Smith's experience will make him a valuable member of the team, even if he's only operating as a mentor. No matter what happens, his return from injury is an astonishing and inspiring story. 

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