November 18, like any date on the calendar, can represent a bunch of things to a bunch of people.
For some, it's simply a small piece of late fall, just before Thanksgiving. To others, it's a birthday. But to Alex Smith, it's an anniversary — and not the positive kind, either.
On Nov. 18, 2018, Smith suffered what's become his infamous injury against the Texans at FedEx Field. The compound fracture and subsequent infection took him in a direction that no one could've expected, a direction that included discussion about amputating his leg in order to save his life and the most arduous of rehabs.
Somehow, though, Smith and his family overcame all of it, and on Wednesday — two years after the sack that most expected would end his career — he looked back on that fateful sequence.
"I'm very aware," Smith said of the anniversary.
"You take a moment," he continued," just to certainly appreciate everything about where we are. Certainly as a family, how lucky we are. I'm grateful for so many things, certainly to be in this position again. I didn't think it was ever possible for a long time."
The date will likely never lose significance for the 36-year-old, but Wednesday's two-year mark was especially meaningful because he is once against a starter in the NFL. Reaching that part of the depth chart no doubt drove him to overcome his toughest moments, and while everyone can hypothesize how rewarding it is for him to be there once more, only he will ever know how special it truly is.
As is typical with Smith, however, he was more focused on what's immediately ahead as opposed to what's in the past. No. 11 is ready for another challenge this weekend against the Bengals, and he's confident about it due to how he performed last weekend in Detroit.
"For me, it was the most comfortable I've felt," he said. "I really felt like I checked another box, that I'm capable of playing winning football in this league. It's a matter of doing that consistently, though."
Smith wants to lead the offense consistently, but the fact that he can lead one at all is breathtaking. That is the case two years removed from his broken leg, and it'll remain the case long after he's moved on to other things as well.