Smith, 35, has been recovering from the devastating compound leg fracture he suffered last November in the Week 11 game against the Houston Texans.
Back in February, Redskins vice president of player personnel Doug Williams refused to rule out the possibility that Smith would return for 2019 — and Smith had shown some recent progress in his recovery. In mid-July, his wife Elizabeth posted a photo on Instagram showing that Smith was no longer wearing the external fixator that had been aiding in the healing process.
One milestone reached - Redskins QB Alex Smith gets his external fixator removed after suffering a devasting leg injury about 8 months ago. ( : Liz Smith IG) @NBC4Sports @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/NVQrTBAJn5— Sherree Burruss (@SherreeBurruss) July 15, 2019
“The last 8 months have been nothing short of crazy,” she said in a post. “Although it’s not over, today is a big milestone. We are shedding the weight Alex has been carrying (literally and figuratively). It’s one step closer to the goal. The resilience, determination and mental fortitude of this man is unmatched.”
“Our job is to do everything we can to get him right,” said Redskins head coach Jay Gruden via PFT. “His job is to come in here and help in any way he feels fit to do so. So if it’s in meeting, helping out our young quarterbacks... He’s got Case Keenum who’s never been in the system; Colt [McCoy] has been here for a while, but he’s hasn’t had many starting games; and obviously, Dwayne Haskins is a rookie. So having his influence and his leadership in that quarterback room will be beneficial.”
Smith served as Chiefs quarterback for five seasons before being traded to the Redskins after the 2017 season. He is widely credited with aiding in the development of current Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who played behind Smith for one season before being named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 2018 — his first season as the starter.
“I will come back to last year and being in that room with Alex Smith, having that opportunity to see how he worked,” said Chiefs coach head Andy Reid last September. “For a young guy, that’s invaluable. Alex was not one who was going to hide anything or play games with him or anything like that. He kept it all out in the open and was secure enough, that wasn’t a problem. He came into a good situation with Alex and I said that was priceless for him. There’s no way he could repay Alex with having that experience. That was phenomenal.”
While on the PUP list, Smith may attend team meetings and work out in the Redskins facility. He may not practice with the team until he is cleared by medical personnel. If Smith finishes the preseason on the PUP list, he may be placed on the regular season PUP list, which will make him ineligible for the first six weeks of the season. After that, Smith would have to be allowed to return to practice, placed on injured reserve or released within five weeks.
“The most important thing for me, and for this organization, is for Alex to get well,” said Gruden. “So if he needs to take time and do some rehab, or what have you, then he is free to do that. I know that he wants to be a part of this and help out in any way that he can.”