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Comeback Player of the Year: Alex Smith

The fallout from Doug Pederson's decision to bench Jalen Hurts in Week 17 is still being felt around the league. Mike Florio and Chris Simms dissect the biggest effects from the controversial decision.

Never has an award winner been as easy to decide as this year’s Comeback Player of the Year is.

Alex Smith won the award in September when he made the 53-player roster. The Washington quarterback solidified it in Week 5 with his first appearance since Nov. 18, 2018, when a horrific right leg injury ended his season and threatened his career.

But that’s not all. . . .

Smith played eight games, and his 5-1 record as a starter has Washington in the playoffs for the first time since 2015.

In any other year, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Cowboys pass rusher Aldon Smith could have won the award with their own comeback stories. But Smith’s comeback tale is movie worthy.

He endured 17 surgeries that first saved his leg from amputation and then his life after a severe infection. After missing 2019, Smith was determined to return in 2020 despite the odds.

Dwayne Haskins began the season as the team’s starter, but Washington benched him, and he no longer even is on the roster. Kyle Allen made four starts before a season-ending injury.

Smith is the last quarterback standing of the team’s three original quarterbacks on the 53-player roster.

Smith became the starter in Week 10. He finished with 1,582 passing yards with six touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Who knows what his future holds? Smith is 36. He is signed through 2022 with $40 million owed to him over the next two seasons.

But whether he plays again after this season, Smith is the comeback story of forever.