Alex Smith's road to recovery has been well-documented. Following 17 surgeries on his lower leg to fight off infection, 23 months away from the game, and one incredibly arduous journey back to the football field, one figure of support has been right there with him through it all: his wife, Elizabeth.
On Sunday, Elizabeth and the kids took in what was Smith's first time dressed in full pads of an NFL regular season game since that fateful November 2018 game. At first, aside from that pageantry it looked to be another otherwise uneventful Washington Football Team loss while another quarterback took the reigns.
Alex, on the other hand, was as prepared as ever.
"I knew no question this week once I was the two, I know the reality of being a play away and how fast that can happen and sure enough, it obviously happened on Sunday," Smith told Washington's Julie Donaldson.
That hit on Kyle Allen in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Rams, coupled with Dwayne Haskins' demotion to third-string, may have caused Smith to make his triumphant comeback prematurely, but he sure was happy it happened in Washington.
That way, Smith knew his family was right there in the stands watching him with unconditional support.
"I think that was something special for me that they got to be there because they've been with me on this journey," Smith said. "Obviously every day these past two years, day in day out from the very beginning. So, I was really happy they got to be there for me."
Elizabeth has been a constant public face and voice during her husband's painstaking recovery, but it was her support behind closed doors during challenging times that allowed Smith to complete one of the greatest comebacks from an injury in recent sports history.
Through "very real" conversations all throughout these past 23 months, Smith garnered the support he needed to not only prove that he can do it for himself but for the family as well. Those conversations only got more real heading into training camp, and her unbridled support has helped him finally do what many thought was impossible.
"For me, I felt like I had crossed that bridge already mentally that I had no hesitations," Smith said. "And thank God as soon as I stepped foot out there, kind of half-stepping, I felt great about it I think she did as well. We had a lot of honest conversations about it and I'm thankful they got to be there."