Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith said his return affected the team’s plans this season and he did not feel loved by the organization this summer.
Smith, the NFL Returning Player of the Year, told GQ magazine that he surprised the organization by being able to play.
“They didn’t see it, they didn’t want me there, they didn’t want me to be part of it, they didn’t want me to be on the team, on the squad, they didn’t want to give me a chance.” “Smith told the magazine.” Mind you, it was a completely new regimen, they got in; I am like leftovers and I am hurt and I am this responsibility.
“Hell no, they didn’t want me there. At that point, as you can imagine, everything that had happened, I couldn’t have cared less for all that. Like it or not, I’m giving you this is a try at this point.”
Smith’s words cast doubt on his desire to stay in the organization and how much frustration he still harbors. Washington is open to keeping Smith and developing the offense further, but the team is also exploring other options as a quarterback due to the question of whether Smith can stay healthy for a full season.
Smith has a salary cap of $ 24.4 million and Washington would save $ 13.8 million if he released him.
“We are still in a situation where we are looking at all of our options,” coach Ron Rivera said earlier this month.
Smith hasn’t said with certainty that he will return, but sources told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that he wanted to keep playing. And Smith’s own words in multiple interviews strongly suggest that is the case. He and Rivera had multiple conversations earlier this month, although neither has said much about them.
“It fits me more,” Smith said in the GQ interview. “I have more to get there, too. So I really want to get into the meat of this offseason and see where I am and push him. I want to push my body harder. I want to push my leg harder. The more I push him, he responds. In At some point, obviously I’m going to have to sit down with my wife and have a very real conversation, and do we want to do this? She deserves a ton of input. So we’ll see. “
The team declined to respond to Smith’s comments.
At training camp, Rivera said he was following what doctors told him about Smith’s recovery. Also, Washington was entering what he thought was going to be a rebuilding year and a 35-year-old quarterback in Smith’s situation, coming from a fractured right tibia and fibula, did not fit in with trying to plan ahead. . Rivera inherited a 3-13 team and wanted to see if second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins could become a long-term starter.
Washington wanted to put Smith on injured reserve before the final cuts, which would have ended his season. That week, Smith and Rivera had a long meeting, and then Smith met the next day with Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner to convince them that he should be on the roster.
The doubts were generalized. Smith admitted that there was a “very small group” of people who thought he could do this. Multiple sources in the organization said after viewing his documentary on ESPN that they did not believe a doctor would authorize contact.
Smith opened the camp on the list of physically disabled people, although his personal doctors had authorized him to return. One of those doctors, Robin West, is Washington’s chief orthopedist.
Slowly, their minds changed. Smith remained on the cubs list until Aug. 16 while showing coaches that he was no longer injured and simply needed to test himself on the field. Still, there were sources close to him at the time who were also wondering if Smith could play, or to what level. His injury left him with his foot off, causing his foot to drag at times. He also required special braces on his cleats.
Washington gradually had him do more in practice, but didn’t put him through full 11-11 workouts until late in training camp after he pressured coaches to give him a chance.
“I felt like I still hadn’t had my fair chance at that point,” Smith told GQ. “I wanted to see if I could play quarterback and soccer, and I feel like I hadn’t been given a chance to find out yet. It’s like being this close to the finish line of a marathon and they’re telling you that you can’t finish the race. career. It’s like, f — that. I’m finishing this. At least I’ll see if I can. So, I’m thankful that I worked on all those things, but no, it wasn’t like coming back with open arms after two years “.
Smith was the No. 3 quarterback for the first four games, but was raised to No. 2 when Rivera benched Dwayne Haskins. Smith returned to the field after Kyle Allen suffered a concussion against the Los Angeles Rams and was sacked six times. Allen suffered a season-ending ankle injury three weeks later against the New York Giants, forcing Smith to enter the starting lineup next week against the Detroit Lions.
Washington went 5-1 in games started by Smith. His stats were modest: He threw five touchdowns to five interceptions as a starter. There were six and eight, respectively, in total. But his impact was apparent to a young team that needed guidance on the field. Smith was a near unanimous pick for the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year.
Smith suffered a bruised bone on December 13 and played just one more game, a victory that gave Philadelphia the division title in the regular season finale. He lobbied hard to play in the wild-card playoff game against Tampa Bay, but Rivera opted for Taylor Heinicke, fearing that Smith’s lack of mobility with the persistent leg problem would lead to problems against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense.
Regardless of how coaches felt about Smith in August, their thoughts evolved as the season progressed.
“When you see what Alex has been through and just his desire and drive to come back and the joy and excitement he feels playing, it has been very inspiring for me to see him,” Rivera said in December.
He also praised Smith’s leadership.
“There is an intangible that some guys have and possess,” Rivera said. “Alex has it. Can he be replaced? Well, you’re going to have to find someone who has those same types of intangibles. Those types are special. They only show up once in a while.”