Being a quarterback in the National Football League is never easy, and Alex Smith knows that.
Returning to the field after a devastating injury two years ago was his most recent battle, but before that, Smith dealt with trades and being replaced by other passers.
That adversity is something quarterback Dwayne Haskins is facing for the first time. Benched heading into Week 5, the second-year pro is now dealing with doubters, trade rumors and more.
Being that Smith is no stranger to the challenges, the veteran quarterback has made a point to reach out to Haskins and help him through this difficult time.
“I have talked to Dwayne, I feel for him for sure. Someone that went through a lot of different things as a young quarterback, being a new quarterback in this league is hard enough," Smith said. "Going out there and just playing but obviously dealing with the ups and downs of it.”
Part of what makes Smith's journey back to taking the field so incredible is how he has seemed to always overcome whatever obstacle was in his way. A main reason he's been able to do so stems from his attitude of only controlling what he can.
While outside noise will always be there and adversity can strike at any time, Smith has made it a point to focus on what he can do to get better and continue to find success in the league. With Haskins now at a crucial point early in his career, Smith is urging him to do the same.
"I’ve talked to him a lot about the importance of, certainly I think just him just focusing on himself and his trajectory and reaching his potential," Smith said. "All the things that go on around and all the distractions, not letting them be that. Not letting them be a distraction. Focusing on what he has to do to continue to get better just like I’m focused on what I need to do to be the best I can be for this team.”
Problems are nothing new for most NFL quarterbacks, but no one may be able to understand Haskins' situation better than Smith. Throughout his career, bumps of the road have continued to emerge. Yet, he's still standing.
The veteran knows that it's never easy to tackle adversity, but he's proven that there is no time to sit around and wallow in the struggles. He's made sure to let Haskins know that the only one who can fix his problem is himself.
Moving forward, he hopes to see his teammate do just that. From there, improvement will follow.
“As frustrated as I know he is, obviously important to try and put that aside and continue down his path," Smith said.