A one-hour documentary on former Kansas City Chiefs and current Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith titled “Project 11” runs Friday night at 6:30 p.m. Arrowhead Time on ESPN, and there is a good chance Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Patrick Mahomes will be watching.
Reid and Mahomes spoke to the local Kansas City media via Zoom conference calls on Friday morning, and with the documentary set to debut Friday night, Smith’s name came up.
Smith has spent the last year recovering from a gruesome compound fracture he suffered in his right tibia and right fibula in November of 2018.
“Injuries are part of the game, but the injury that he had, it breaks your heart because you know how much he loves the game,” Reid said. “This guy, he’s a good-looking guy, people get tied in up in the way he looks – he’s got the quarterback look – good looking guy, speaks well, does all that stuff. But underneath that is a tough, tough guy that is highly competitive and has this drive that is ridiculous. So, you know how much the game means to him.
“He doesn’t just play the game because of the money or how he looks in a uniform or all that stuff, he plays it because he loves the game. When a guy like that gets an injury like this that’s potentially career-ending, especially when he’s playing as well as he was, it breaks your heart, it rips your heart out. Everybody is pulling for him. His teammates are all pulling from him; I think you’ve heard that from them. If anybody can come back from it, if he wanted to come back, he’d be the guy. You look at those stinking pictures and you go, ‘Woah, how’s that going to happen?’ But like I said, if anybody can do it, that guy can do it. And if he chooses to go that route, we’re all pulling for him.”
Reid has been quoted many times describing how much Mahomes owes Smith for what he was able to learn as his backup in 2017. Still the Chiefs starter in ‘17, Smith taught Mahomes how to be a professional, and the two still keep in touch, according to Mahomes.
“We actually talk probably every two or three months at a time — we’ll text and have a few conversations,” said Mahomes. “Mostly it’s about how the families are doing. Building that relationship that I had with him for a year, seeing him every single day, and then getting to go out to eat with his family and him with mine, we built a great relationship. Obviously, I knew a lot of the stuff that was going on as far as the surgeries and when he had the infection and everything like that, but the perspective of seeing the actual pictures, it even increases the magnitude to me.
Smith’s recovery included at least 17 surgeries, which the documentary is expected to describe in detail Friday night.
“Knowing the person and the attitude that he has, I can see that he has made so much more improvement because he has the mindset of going out there and being the best person he can be every single day. I’ve talked to him a couple times. I talked to him after the Super Bowl. He congratulated me and everything like that. He was one of the first text messages I got. That’s just the type of guy he is. I think he’s doing really well right now, and I can only imagine the progress he’s going to continue to make as he keeps getting after it every single day.”
For more information on Friday night’s documentary, click here.