Alex Smith Has Been Cleared to Play Football, But Should He?

By Stephen Douglas
Alex Smith
Alex Smith / Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
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Alex Smith has been medically cleared to play football again. That is awesome. This marks a huge milestone on an incredible comeback after he suffered a devastating injury in November 2018. At this point, it's a nice inspiring story as was so nicely illustrated by the Washington Football Team in comic form. Isn't that enough?

Are we really going to let him go back out there? Are his family, friends, team, fans, doctors and everyone else really OK with this? What's the point? Football nearly took his life less than two years ago. Getting his normal life back is an incredible achievement. Getting to the point where he CAN play football again is so impressive it is almost unbelievable. Just look at the wholesome way in which his family rightfully celebrated.

That's a man who has a lot to be happy about. He's got his health and a beautiful family and gobs of money. So much money. Because of his gigantic contract, he made like $31 million while he was rehabbing. He doesn't need the millions he stands to make by competing for the Washington starting quarterback job. And the thing is, he could probably win it.

If Smith is allowed to play, how hard could it be to beat Dwayne Haskins? At 36, Smith isn't ancient by quarterback standards. He was good enough in Kansas City that it basically took a once-in-a-lifetime Hall of Fame Super Bowl winning quarterback to take his job. Smith had the best season of his career and led the Chiefs to five consecutive winning seasons before he was replaced by Patrick Mahomes.

Washington is as far as possible from Kansas City. This is a last place team. It probably doesn't matter who is quarterback, so there is both no reason it shouldn't be Smith and no reason it should be Smith. Since this is the NFL, and Washington is desperate for any positive coverage at all right now, they might be tempted to lean into this. If social media is any indication, they might be.

I just hope Smith is doing what is best for himself and his family. And if Washington wants to ensure he has a happy ending, maybe they should help him make that decision. What's the better ending? Walking away now that he can actually walk away? Or maybe ending up on a quarterback carousel with Dwayne Haskins and Colt McCoy or whoever else on a team that has grand designs of maybe finishing .500 in a couple years?

If Alex Smith were to retire on Monday, it would be a great moment. He could say he left on his terms and mean it. He could join Washington as a coach. That's a happy ending.

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