When Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith trotted onto the field this past Sunday to replace an injured Kyle Allen, it seemed as if everyone watching the game began to hold their breath.
How could they not? Smith's return to action this past weekend marked the first time the 36-year-old played in an NFL contest since suffering a life-threatening injury in November of 2018. Smith's comeback story is remarkable and nothing short of inspiring.
However, when Smith took the field, no one knew how his body would react to contact. Well, it didn't take long for the Rams to get their hands on the quarterback.
On his third snap from scrimmage, Smith was sacked by Rams All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald -- the first hit the QB took in 23 months. The sack didn't look natural, either, as Donald literally jumped on Smith's back in order to bring him to the ground.
Smith, unfazed by the contact, got right up after the sack and jogged to the sidelines.
"It was nice to get the first one out of the way," Smith said. "I didn’t know Aaron Donald was going to jump on my back like that, but if it's got to go one way that’s not a bad way."
Smith's comments come during an interview on Washington Football Today with Julie Donaldson. The full interview can be seen on NBC Sports Washington on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Getting hit for the first time since his injury did not both Smith. The QB reiterated that he's had medical clearance from many doctors and was confident his leg would hold up, whenever he returned to action.
"I felt good about it," Smith said. "Obviously, I've had full clearance and I know how strong my leg is. But you have to go through it sometimes."
Unfortunately for Smith, the sack from Donald was only a preview of what was to come for him in the second half. Throughout the game, the quarterback was sacked six times, with Donald responsible for three of them.
"After the first one, I was fine but I didn’t want the next five," Smith said.
Smith would finish his return completing 9-of-17 passes for 37 yards. Washington's offense was immobile in the second half, finishing with -6 yards over the final 30 minutes.
"Once it got too sloppy and we were behind, we were kind of one-dimensional," Smith said. "So, it's tough trying to take care of the football. Obviously, they have a really good D-line, and once it got so wet, it was not ideal conditions."