A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

Opinion: Alex Smith deserves the 2020 NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award


After suffering a compound leg fracture on Nov. 18, 2018, Washington Football Team’s Quarterback Alex Smith was facing a life or death battle with sepsis after his fracture became infected.

 “At that point I don’t remember much for a few weeks. I had quite a few surgeries in a row trying to get the infection under control and then the next thing I remember is waking up several weeks later faced with the decision of amputation or limb salvage,” Smith said in an interview with ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap on Feb. 1, 2020.

Smith was most likely not even thinking about returning to football. He had much larger problems to worry about. Multiple successful surgeries, physical therapy and one saved leg later, Smith was able to walk again. His injuries were being described by sports analysts to be exactly like Joe Thiesmann’s career ending injury.

“I’d be lying if I told you a year ago I had serious doubts obviously even in my ability to walk normal, to ever play with my kids, to ever go on a hike, go on a walk with my wife. You know hiking, skiing, forget any of those kinds of recreational activities, golfing, and so today to get to still be considering a chance to play quarterback, i’m obviously very lucky.” said Smith in the same interview with Schaap.

After 694 days filled with surgeries, physical therapy, leg rehab, workouts and training, Alex Smith did the unimaginable and took the field once again after Washington Football Team’s starting Quarterback Kyle Allen was injured.

With two minutes left in the half, Smith stepped in and threw a complete pass on his first attempt. He finished the game 9/17 for a meager 37 yards. Yes, those numbers are horrid, but to many of Smith’s fans, they were quite relieved that he still had the ability to play football. Smith was back and ready to fight for his starting QB job.

Fast forward to Nov. 15, Smith threw 38/55 for a remarkable 390 yards against the Detroit Lions on his first full start since the injury. The numbers spoke for itself and Smith got locked-in at starting QB. 

Alex Smith prevailed. He did the unimaginable and returned to the field after an injury that should have taken his leg and quite possibly could have killed him. 

Other sports analysts and commentators have speculated that Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback “Big Ben” Roethlisberger is a more worthy comeback player award winner, and they have a good argument.

 Roethlisberger was out for most of the 2019 season after suffering a season ending injury. He then returned in 2020 to lead his team to an undefeated streak. He was perfect until week 13 when the Steelers played against the Washington Football team led by Smith under center. Smith and company won that game 23-17.

Smith deserves the Comeback Player of the Year Award after the two years of recuperation from an operating table to starting QB. Smith took over as starter at a time when Washington was falling off, and reined in enough wins to finally cement the team’s wildcard playoff spot Jan. 3 with a win against the Philadelphia Eagles.

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About the Contributor
Nick Vides
Nick Vides, Photo-Editor
Nicholas “Nick” Vides (he/him) Is a seasoned breaking news reporter dedicated to making sure every shutter click of his camera captures a moment worth sharing. Nick's itch for chasing fires has kept him busy over the past seven years, covering every major fire event in Northern California from the Paradise Fire to the Caldor Fire. Nick currently splits his time as a photojournalist with The Oak Leaf and as a Contract Photographer with The Press Democrat. He has more than nine years of experience with photography, has been director of photography for multiple short films with the SRJC Media Arts Center, directed numerous student-led broadcasts with his Media 19 class, and interned for The Sarah and Vinnie Show on Alice 97.3. In the little free time left, he works for Highway 12 Winery in Sonoma, California as a Cellar Hand.  

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