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After long silence, Alex Smith reveals his plan to play football again

After long silence, Alex Smith reveals his plan to play football again

Alex Smith suffered a gruesome broken leg last November, and his recovery has been anything but simple. The injury got infected, which required more surgery, and for the last few months Smith has been walking with an external fixator on his leg, an intense looking circular metal device running from his knee to his foot with screws into his bones.

It's fairly obvious Smith won't play this season, but the Redskins never seemed to fully commit to releasing the veteran quarterback. Smith remains under contract through 2022 with guaranteed money on his deal at least through 2020. 

Washington's long-term plan at quarterback changed dramatically in April when the team drafted Dwayne Haskins out of Ohio State with the 15th overall pick. It's possible Haskins doesn't play right away this season, but a first-round QB needs to be on the field sooner than later. 

Haskins is now the Redskins franchise quarterback, and all of that makes Smith's first public comments since his injury that much more interesting.

Speaking with Angie Goff of Fox5DC, Smith revealed where he is in his recovery and his hopes for the future.

"The first four months were really really hard," Smith said, who was limited to a wheelchair early in his recovery. "When you have independence and then lose it, that was the hardest part."

In the last few months, things have improved for Smith. He can walk now and even played golf. Smith hopes the fixator comes off his leg in the next four to six weeks, and after that, he needs to re-learn to run and change direction.

After that, he wants to play football again. 

"That's the plan," Smith said of returning to the field. "I got to conquer some more steps before I get there."

The Redskins posted pictures of Smith on the team's practice fields throwing passes, which he said isn't a problem. Moving around in the pocket, something that Smith excelled at before the injury, will be a different story. 

"The steps I'm at right now are lifestyle steps," Smith said. 

Smith said he's focused on being able to play basketball with his kids and chase his young daughter around. Football will come after that. Throughout the interview, Smith showed an impressive sense of positivity and understanding of the big picture despite walking around with metal screws drilled into his leg. 

"It's crazy looking and it sucks what happened but at the same time there's people out there that have it way worse."

As for the Redskins roster, the team is in position to leave Smith on the injured reserve this year and carry his $20 million salary, in addition to paying Haskins along with veterans Colt McCoy and Case Keenum. The salary cap is tight carrying four QB salaries, but the team has little choice.

Next year, McCoy and Keenum will be free agents. If Smith actually returns by next year, it's hard to envision Washington bringing back either of the veterans, but obviously Haskins will be on the team.

Could Smith and Haskins really coexist? Probably not. If Smith works all the way back to full health and is able to play football again, it would be hard to imagine the team letting him compete with a second-year Haskins for the top QB job. 

With the severity of the injury, and the large steps still needed in his comeback, that conversation seems unnecessary. For now, Redskins fans should just wish Smith well in his recovery. 

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Report: Dan Snyder petitions state of Maryland for gambling license for new stadium

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USA Today Sports

Report: Dan Snyder petitions state of Maryland for gambling license for new stadium

As a return to the old RFK Stadium site for the Redskins seems less likely, Washington owner Dan Snyder appears to be moving forward with a new plan: Staying in Maryland but adding a gambling license. 

Snyder met with a number of Maryland lawmakers to discuss sports betting and acquiring a license for a new Redskins stadium, according to The Washington Post. The report contends Snyder wants to use "sports betting as part of an overall plan to build a domed stadium that could include hotels, offices and training facilities."

The story also suggests Snyder could build the stadium with his own money. 

The Redskins currently play their games in Maryland at FedEx Field and their lease runs through 2027. The stadium is dated and Snyder has openly talked about wanting a new facility for his team to play.

For years, publicly, Snyder has opined that his team belongs back in D.C. at the RFK site. At various times in the last two years that seemed plausible, but political red tape from the federal government continues to hold things up. The stadium sits on federal land, and while the city has tried to regain control of that site, it hasn't happened. Until the city takes control, which is far from happening, it seems unlikely the Redskins get back to the site. 

So if it's time to move forward with Maryland, it requires a bit of a fresh start. The Redskins and the state were holding talks about a land swap to build a new stadium near the MGM National Harbor along the Potomac River, but those talks stalled when it became obvious the team preferred a return to D.C.

Legalized sports betting in Maryland seems likely to hit the ballot this fall, and considering the state already has fully operational casinos, there's little reason to think the vote wouldn't pass.

That's the first step for the Redskins to get a sports betting license for their new stadium. The idea isn't novel; Ted Leonsis has been quite open about adding a sports book to Capital One Arena and already has an agreement with William Hill bookmakers to run the gambling operation. Similar deals are expected at Audi Field and Nationals Park. 

It remains a bit of a surprise that Virginia politicians seem willing to sit out the courtship of a new Redskins stadium. Former Governor Terry McAullife actively flirted with the idea of building a new Redskins stadium in the Commonwealth, but current Governor Ralph Northam almost seems disinterested in the idea. 

The Redskins practice facility is in Loudon County and the team holds training camp each summer in Richmond. The training camp deal is soon to expire and some believe if and when a new stadium facility gets built, that could also house training camp and practices. Currently, no professional sports teams play in Virginia, and the Commonwealth does not appear as near legalized sports gambling as Maryland or the District. 

Like anything with a gigantic project in a region with three different local governing bodies and the omnipresent specter of the federal government looming, a new Redskins stadium will require significant legislative hurdles and deal-making. Stay tuned. 

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Jay Gruden reportedly to join Jaguars as their offensive coordinator

Jay Gruden reportedly to join Jaguars as their offensive coordinator

Just four months shy of his last appearance on the NFL gridiron sidelines, Jay Gruden may already have his 2020 gig lined up, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.

Gruden was head coach of the Washington Redskins for six seasons, beginning in 2014 and going 35-49-1 in his burgundy and gold tenure. Gruden pushed the Redskins to their first postseason appearance since 2012 in his second year with the team, as well as back-to-back winning seasons in 2015 and 2016, not seen in Washington since 1996 and 1997. 

In March 2017, Gruden signed a two-year extension with the Redskins. He was fired after beginning the 2019 season 0-5. 

Recently, Gruden confirmed to Rapoport that he was "itching for something to do" and seeking employment before Jacksonville brought him in to interview for the OC role. 

After playing four years at the University of Louisville and eight more in various football leagues, Gruden held many offensive roles, offensive coordinator for the Florida Tuskers and Cincinnati Bengals. 

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