Alex Smith has retired from the NFL, but his return to action with the Washington Football Team was one of the best stories of the 2020 season and one of his teammates took some time to reflect on what he saw from Smith in his return to action.
Wide receiver Terry McLaurin said that he never saw Smith take a step back as he fought to come back from the severe leg injury he suffered during the 2018 season and that his return to the lineup “galvanized our team.”
The team won five of Smith’s six starts en route to winning the NFC East title in head coach Ron Rivera’s first season. Rivera spent the year battling cancer and McLaurin said on SiriusXM NFL Radio that Rivera and Smith shared the same attitude to pushing forward in a winning manner.
“I think that what was so unique for our team last year is [Smith] and coach Rivera were so unique in what adversities they were going through last year,” McLaurin said. “It was a little similar in the sense, obviously coach Rivera was dealing with cancer, but Alex Smith was dealing with a life-threatening injury. Just the way they approached practice, you would have never known anything was wrong, by the way. They never had a feel sorry for me moment. They never really had moments where they were going to use what they were going through as an excuse. They were always going to try to put their best foot forward.”
Smith may be gone, but the players who are back from the 2020 squad should be able to put the lessons they learned a year ago to good use as they try for continued success under Rivera.