Alex Smith wins PFWA’s Halas Award for overcoming adversity


When thinking of the word ‘adversity,’ no NFL player comes to mind quicker than Alex Smith. His legacy is essentially wrapped in overcoming extreme obstacles. On Monday, he received an award for doing just that.

Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) have announced that Smith is their 2021 recipient of the George Halas Award. According to the organization, “The Halas Award is given to an NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes the most adversity to succeed.” The award itself is named after George Halas who was a player, coach and owner of the Chicago Bears from 1920 until his death in 1983. Washington head coach Ron Rivera was also nominated for the award this year.

Winning the Halas Award is the latest of a lengthy list of accolades given to Smith since his devastating leg injury in 2018. As Washington’s quarterback, Smith suffered a compound fracture in his right leg during a game vs. Houston that sidelined him for two calendar years. The recovery process—which threatened amputation and even Smith’s life at one point due to an infection—was something no athlete should endure.

Fast forward two years, and Alex Smith somehow has made his way back to an NFL field. That alone is miraculous, but what he did on that field is the stuff of folklore. Smith ended up leading WFT to its first playoff appearance in four seasons, winning the NFC East. His efforts, to nobody’s surprise, earned him the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award for 2020.


Smith announced his retirement after being released by Washington during the 2021 offseason. He became the third member in franchise history to take home the Halas Award, joining D.C. legends Billy Kilmer (1976) and Pat Fischer (1978). Other nominees included Rivera, Colts linebacker Darius Leonard and Patriots running back James White.

Alex Smith’s name has become synonymous with adversity. As he proved to everybody, no matter what that adversity may be, anything can be overcome.