The choice was simple.
After completing one of the most remarkable comebacks in sports history, Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith has been named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year by Sporting News.
Smith's honor was not unanimous, but over 90 percent of players that voted chose the Washington passer for the award. Sporting News surveyed several NFL players for their award; the winners were not based on the staff's opinion.
The league's official Comeback Player of the Year award will be announced during the ninth annual NFL Honors ceremony on Feb. 6.
Smith made his return to football this past season after missing nearly two years following a life-threatening leg injury he suffered in November 2018. The quarterback required 17 surgeries to repair his leg and was forced to wear an external fixator for around 10 months during his recovery.
After making the 53-man roster out of training camp, Smith's first action this season came in Week 5 against the Los Angeles Rams. The quarterback would take over as Washington's starter in Week 10, and the club responded by win four of its next five games, including victories over the then-undefeated Steelers and reigning NFC champion 49ers.
A bone bruise in his right surgically repaired leg kept him sidelined for three of the team's final four games, but his impact on Washington this past season cannot be understated. Smith went 5-1 as a starter in 2020; Washington arguably would not have made the playoffs without him.
The 36-year-old has yet to decide whether he wants to play football again in 2021, but he's under contract with Washington if he chooses to do so.