Joe Theismann hopeful Alex Smith will play in NFL again

Chris Lingebach
May 04, 2020 - 2:57 pm

Seeing ESPN's 'Project 11' special on Alex Smith's recovery has renewed Joe Theismann's hope of seeing an eventual NFL return for Smith.

It goes without saying the similarities between the leg injuries of the two Redskins quarterbacks – which occurred exactly 33 years apart to the day – are horrifyingly eerie. But watching the special – which showed Smith's sheer determination to not only save his leg, but fight for his life – caused Theismann to reassess his expectations for Smith.

"Alex has always been I think pointing in the direction of coming back to play football," Theismann told 106.7 The Fan's Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier. "And you know it's a great thing, because I think you have to have that caveat out there to continue to drive you past what would be considered, quote, unquote, a 'normal' rehabilitation process, just to get you able to walk and to be able to enjoy your life and have a quality of life after."

"Alex was determined to go further than that," Theismann said. "I think there was at one point, obviously you feared for his life and then you feared for the leg. And when you look at the documentary, you get an idea – I mean the entire upper part of his leg was taken and gone. Gone. And it had to be replaced.

"To see the things he's been able to do, since the end of the documentary, I just... at first I thought 95-5 that he's done. Now, I'm not so sure. I'm leaning 80-20 that he may make a comeback. He's got three years left on his deal. He hasn't played in a couple years. He's not a Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray run around type of quarterback. He operates out of the pocket extremely well. He's a great game manager."

"I think that getting a chance to move around, getting down to San Antonio and see other people gave him a real perspective of the military, the men and women, what they have to go through," he continued. "I think he'd consider himself very lucky, and that he's able to try and do the things he wants to do. But the thing is, you push yourself, you push yourself, and if you can't play, that's okay, but at least you pushed yourself to a point where most people never get a chance to do it."

Theismann has seen a lot of people suggesting to him on social media what Smith should do, but that's missing the point, he says.

"What you have to do – everyone that has an opinion out there – respect the individual," he said. "Whether it's Alex's case or anybody else. Respect the individual to make the decision that they believe is best for them, not what you think it ought to be. And in Alex's case, like I said, I just get the feeling that we're gonna see him out running around the football field."

"Now that's the next thing. How much mobility will he have? What happens when he takes a snap, drops back and people start getting around him, if he's able to go again?" he said. "Plus, he'll muddle the living daylights out of this quarterback situation. I mean, it'll be another story for another conversation."

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