While the relationship between Alex Smith and the Washington Football might not have been as symbiotic as it seemed from the outside, one guy who was inside the building at the end of the season couldn't have been more appreciative of the veteran quarterback.
"He means a lot to the team," Heinicke told Andrew Siciliano on Thursday's edition of NFL NOW. "He brings a lot to the table. Hopefully we can bring him back. I know a lot of the guys love him and he's good for the locker room and he can still play. But football's a crazy business. So who knows what's going to happen?"
The reason Heinicke is so relevant in Washington these days is due to his breakout game on Wild Card weekend, an effort that caused the franchise's fans to rally around him and led to a new contract with the franchise. That evening, of course, would've never happened had Smith been healthy enough to go versus Tampa.
However, despite Smith surely being beyond disappointed at his inability to suit up for the postseason, Heinicke explained that No. 11 was an outstanding influence on him throughout the buildup toward that matchup.
"It wasn't awkward at all," Heinicke said. "He knows it was his team. If he was ready to go, he would've gone. It just felt like he wasn't ready to go during that week. He wasn't getting a lot of practice reps. I was getting the majority of them.
"Coach Ron Rivera told me that Friday before the game I would be starting," he continued. "Alex is a great dude. He pushed off treatments, sometimes that week, just to be in the quarterback room with me kind of going over film and helping me through the whole process."
Even before Smith's recent comments to GQ, most have assumed that Washington will move into the next campaign without him. With Heinicke re-signed, Kyle Allen available to bring back and various veterans and prospects looming in free agency and the draft, there just doesn't appear to be a spot for the 36-year-old. If there was, though, Heinicke would no doubt be thrilled.
Now, Smith wasn't the only thing Heinicke discussed while on with NFL Network. There were other pressing matters to address as well.
Near the end of the conversation, Siciliano asked the passer if he has a favorite choice among the mountain of potential name ideas that people have proposed for the organization, which will go by Football Team for 2021 but aim for something permanent beyond that. Heinicke was quick to respond.
"I see the Warriors being floated around," he said. "I like that. I think the Warriors would be pretty cool, keep the W in there. I think that's a cool option."