Prior to the 2020 NFL season, there were plenty of fans and analysts who felt that if Washington quarterback Alex Smith so much as suited up for a game, he should automatically be the league's Comeback Player of the Year.
It's an easy argument to make after Smith's miraculous rehabilitation from a devastating leg injury -- the kind that didn't just threaten his career, but his life.
Smith's return to the NFL has been nothing short of inspirational, and it's not just that he's made the active roster. Thanks to ineffectiveness and injuries for the players ahead of him on the depth chart, Smith has played in multiple games this season and is currently set to start for Washington moving forward.
But none of that is enough to top Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger from winning the award, in the eyes of at least one NFL analyst.
Peter Schrager, during a segment on Good Morning Football with Nate Burleson, was making an argument against Roethlisberger as the league's MVP. But in the process, he put Big Ben as his winner for Comeback Player of the Year.
"Roethlisberger’s the Comeback Player of the Year," Schrager said. "I love Alex Smith’s story, but Roethlisberger’s out there leading an 8-0 team."
Schrager does give mention to Smith and his incredible comeback story, but ultimately, he'd give the award to Roethlisberger at the season's halfway point. Roethlisberger missed nearly all of the 2019 season with an elbow injury, and his return has definitely turned the Steelers into Super Bowl contenders, something Smith can't claim.
But Smith's injury was so crushing, and his rehab so daunting, that it's hard for most fans to consider voting for anybody but the Washington quarterback.