For Taylor Heinicke's sake, there's hopefully a lot more to come in his NFL career. But when you evaluate how it's gone recently — in December 2020, he was excused from taking finals at Old Dominion so he could take snaps for the Washington Football Team — you realize Heinicke's taken a unique path to relevancy in pro football.
And that path actually makes former Washington corner Fred Smoot think of another quarterback who broke into the league in an unusual way, one who then went on to have unusual success.
While talking to JP Finlay on Monday's edition of the BMitch & Finlay show, Smoot drew a comparison between Heinicke's story and that of a Hall of Famer's.
"I'm going to tell you what Heinicke makes me feel like, besides going to the bar for last call," Smoot told 106.7 The Fan. "It's a Kurt Warner feel to him, ain't it?"
To be clear, Smoot wasn't comparing Heinicke's talents directly to Warner's. That would've been outlandish, seeing as Warner threw for more than 32,000 regular-season yards during his time in the league, while Heinicke has yet to eclipse 500.
Instead, Smoot sees an intersection between where the St. Louis Rams were when Warner came to prominence and where Washington is as Heinicke attempts to steal the starting gig from Ryan Fitzpatrick. He also believes the respective players give off the same type of competitive vibe.
"The Rams had all the positions," Smoot said. "They had Marshall Faulk, they had the receivers, they had the linemen, they had the defense, and then all of a sudden, out of nowhere here comes this Kurt Warner guy, not supposed to start, never gives the job back.
"Heinicke has that feel to me," he added. "'If I ever get that job, I will never relinquish that job.'"
In closing, Smoot referenced something about Heinicke that has surely endeared him to countless other Burgundy and Gold supporters, a trait that helps lesser-known athletes develop a huge following like the one Heinicke has already built up in Washington.
"I like that underdog mentality," Smoot said.
Heinicke's determination has, so far, produced one memorable playoff performance and landed him a contract with some real security. When training camp commences in late July, it'll be time to watch where it carries him to next.