Veteran Alex Smith will be the backup quarterback for the Washington Football Team on Sunday, a move that comes amidst a shakeup at the position with Kyle Allen moving into the starting role and Dwayne Haskins to the bench as a healthy scratch.
By serving as the backup to Allen, Smith will suit up in full pads on Sunday, marking the first time he will be active for an NFL game since he suffered a gruesome leg injury in November 2018, one that nearly cost him his life.
All of a sudden, Smith is one play away from completing his remarkable comeback.
Defensive lineman Jonathan Allen has been with the team since 2017 and remembers Smith's injury vividly. After all, it's hard not to.
Allen was asked on Thursday whether he's confident in Smith's ability to play if he's needed to, and the defensive lineman completely backed his veteran QB.
"If he needed to play, he could definitely do it," Allen said. "He could do it at a high level and I have all the faith in him."
The biggest concern surrounding Smith's return to action is if the quarterback will be able to take a hit. Smith has not faced a live pass rush since his injury and was not hit much at all during this year's truncated training camp.
Allen believes Smith is ready to take a hit, simply because he says Smith shouldn't be put in the position to play if he can't.
"As crazy and messed up as it might sound, if you're on the field you have to be responsible to defend yourself," Allen said. "If he's not healthy enough to take a hit, a legal hit, then he shouldn't be playing. I think he's more than healthy enough to take a hit.
"There's no nice way to do what we do. It's a dangerous game," Allen continued. "There's no safe way to play it. Like I said, if I'm not able to defend myself, I shouldn't expect the other opponent to take it easy on me because I can't defend myself. I know the risk, I know the reward, I know the dangers associated with playing football and playing in the NFL. So those are things that you have to ask yourself, 'are you willing to risk?'"
Smith understands the dangers that come with his return. He's also a fierce competitor and one that never gives up, regardless of what the task might be. Smith set out a goal to return to football early on in his recovery and now is knocking on the door of completing that objective.
The quarterback's confidence and fight is contagious. So much that Allen admitted that just knowing the type of competitor and person Smith is, he would have been more shocked if the QB didn't return to the game.
"Alex is a pro's pro," Allen said. "I'd be more surprised if he didn't come back from the injury, just knowing the kind of player he is and the personality he has and the kind of work ethic he has. So, I'm not surprised at all."
In his four years with Washington, Allen's teams have been on the losing end a lot more often than the winning end. Numerous times over that span, Allen has preached his desire to win above all else, something he also repeated on Thursday.
Smith is the same way. So, if the quarterback does get the chance to play again, expect him to do everything possible to send Washington home victorious.
"I have high expectations for the people on this team and organization," Allen said. "Alex is a prime example of guys with high expectations, not only from the team but of themselves."