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Even Joe Theismann amazed by Redskins QB Alex Smith's Project 11 documentary

Even Joe Theismann amazed by Redskins QB Alex Smith's Project 11 documentary

Joe Theismann will never forget the date: November, 18, 1985, the end of his NFL career when his right leg snapped after a sack in a game against the New York Giants.

November 18, 2018 is a date Theismann will never forget, either. That’s the day Redskins quarterback Alex Smith also sustained a horrible broken leg that could have cost him his limb – or even his life. We just don’t yet know if that was the end of Smith’s career quite yet

The similarities between the two quarterbacks’ injures are eerie, so much so that even Theismann can’t ignore them. It was Week 11 when both men broke their right tibia and fibula. Both were compound fractures. Both games ended in a 23-21 score. Both happened near the 40-yard line – one at RFK Stadium, the other at FedEx Field. 

But there is a one dramatic difference between the two and it left a lasting impression on Theismann.

While watching the E:60 “Project 11” documentary like the rest of us, the visuals of Alex’s leg are jarring even to someone who went through a similar ordeal. 

“I was stunned and shocked by how much of his leg they had to take out to save his life first of all, and then his leg,” Theismann said. 

Theismann dealt with infections as well, but he says the level of severity for Smith was more dramatic.

“I wondered why I was in the hospital for so long and they said we’re just trying to control the infection,” Theismann said. “Fortunately for me they did. The difference in Alex and I are that I had a chance to come back and start rehabbing right away. He has had to go through so many more surgeries just to be able to get to a point where they could start to think about the possible rehabilitation process.”


Smith told reporters on the last day of the 2019 season that his intention is to play again "without a doubt."

It would be nothing short of a miracle to go from almost losing his life to returning to the role of quarterback in the NFL so it’s hard to tell if that was simply Smith putting on a brave face.

Despite the odds, Theismann is cheering Smith on. And he sees a tenacity in his approach to rehab that goes with what he knows about Smith. 

“I think at one point Alex wasn’t sure, he was looking at the quality of life,” Theismann said. “And then as he got down into the rehab he started doing things and throwing the ball quickly, even when he had that halo type thing around his leg. And I think the thought the juices started flowing again. ‘Maybe I can do this. There’s a possibility I might be able to do this.’”

Theismann never did play again, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Physically he was unable to do what was required to return, but he understands the passion that has Smith wanting to try. 

“Once Alex started throwing the ball again, I think that flicker, became more a pilot light, that pilot light has become now more of a blaze,” Theismann said. 

NFL players are the one-percent of the one-percent. Most will tell you what separates them from others just as physically gifted is their mindset. IF Alex is to return, Theismann says the mental side may even be more difficult to overcome. 

“I can certainly relate to the emotions and really when you go through the catastrophic injury he’s gone through,” Theismann said. “It’s the mental part of it that becomes the toughest. And the fact he is this type of a determined individual, in my opinion, is the best thing that could possibly happen.”

It’s all about perspective. Theismann’s injury gave that to him and he hopes Smith’s gets the same peace. 

“If he can’t play again, all the hard work that he has put in will give him a quality of life that maybe if he had “quote - unquote” given up on it,” Theismann said. “And said I’m just going to live my life. I’m going to spend my time with the kids, my family and do those things. I don’t know that he would have driven himself as hard as he does.”

It’s Smith’s determination to return to the game he loves that has all of us playing the role of cheerleader. As for IF Smith ever does return, Theismann says that’s not what will determine him coming out a winner.

“For this story to end in only one fitting way, is for Alex to be able to come back and play and leave on his terms,” Theismann said. “Not somebody else deciding his future.”

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Ex-Washington GM believes Dan Snyder will use name change as a 'chip' to build stadium bigger than Cowboys'

Ex-Washington GM believes Dan Snyder will use name change as a 'chip' to build stadium bigger than Cowboys'

After receiving immense public pressure from major sponsors earlier this month, Washington announced in a statement on Monday that the team would retire the name 'Redskins' and its logo. The change was likely not one owner Dan Snyder wanted to make, as he stated in 2013 that the team would "never" change its name.

However, former Washington GM Vinny Cerrato believes there might have been another reason Snyder agreed to finally move on from the name.

In an interview on ESPN's 'Golic and Wingo,' Cerrato explained that he believes Snyder will try and use the name change as a "chip" to eventually build a new stadium in Washington, D.C., one "bigger and better" than his good friend Jerry Jones' 100,000-seater in Dallas.

"Ever since Jerry [Jones] built his stadium...we're playing the Cowboys, and we flew down and had dinner in Jerry's box," Cerrato said. "Jerry gave us a tour of the stadium, he's pushing the button opening and closing the roof. Ever since then, [Snyder said] 'I'm going to have one bigger and better.'"


Cerrato said that now that the name has been retired, Snyder will be able to turn his dream stadium into a reality.

"Trust me when I tell you this, Dan will have one bigger and better," Cerrato said. "He'll use it as a chip to get that land where RFK was, to change the name. I would bet that it's somewhere involved in there. The name change is also probably helping him get the property he really wants."


Prior to the name change, it's been no secret that the owner wants a new stadium, specifically one in downtown Washington at the team's old RFK site. However, the process of building a new stadium may not be so easy.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said in June that she believes the name must be changed and that the team won't be allowed to build a new stadium in D.C. until that happens. Even after Washington's statement earlier this week, Mayor Bowser said there are still plenty of hurdles that remain for Washington to build a new stadium at the old RFK location.

Washington's current lease as FedEx Field in Landover, Md., is set to expire at the end of the 2027 season.

Only time will tell if the name change ends up helping Snyder build his "bigger and better" stadium in D.C. Despite that, Cerrato believes the owner will look back on the name change and wonder why he took so long to make it.

"For where we are at in society, I think it was an absolute that needed to be done. I think he realized that," Cerrato said. "His business partners, Dwight [Schar], Rob Rothman and Fred Smith, they tried to push upon on him recently. So I think it was something that needed to be done. In five years when Dan thinks back about it, he'll probably think 'Why did I wait so long?"

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Joe Theismann hopes Washington can serve as example of taking action on social change

Joe Theismann hopes Washington can serve as example of taking action on social change

Following the killing of George Floyd on May 25, the fight for social justice and racial equality has been at the forefront of issues in the United States.

The current social justice movement in America has impacted Washington's NFL team, as the organization announced on Monday it would retire the name 'Redskins' -- a slur that some Native Americans find offensive and racist -- and the team's logo. The change -- something Washington owner Dan Snyder said he would "never" do in 2013 -- is felt to be overdue by many.

Former Washington quarterback Joe Theismann hopes that the team's eventual name change can be used as an opportunity for the organization to serve as an example by taking action for social change.

"I think that what we've proven with the new name of the Washington football franchise is that we need people to take action on the things that they want to get done," Theismann told ABC7's Scott Abraham.

"There's so many things socially that people talk about doing... but we're not really getting the results. In this case, I hope the Washington name and the change that's taking place can be an example to people."


Additionally, the Super Bowl-winning QB explained that he wants those upset by the change to understand that things don't say the same. Sometimes, change is necessary.

"Things are always changing in one place, in one way or another," Theismann said. "We're experiencing this now through the pandemic and all the things that are happening socially around the country and really around the world. And I think what we have to do is listen, open our hearts, open our minds to what's going on."

Asked if he was upset or angry by the change, Theismann said that he doesn't have any regrets personally with the franchise.

"I don't have any regrets... I was very proud to put on that uniform and represent, what I felt like were the Native Americans," Theismann said. "As a matter of fact, in 1982 when we won the World Championship, I was given a chief's headdress by one of the tribal individuals. And it's a cherished item."

Plus, the quarterback also stated he would continue to wear his 'Redskins' gear, saying  he will "explain to people, to me it represented a proud tradition of the people that I spoke to who were Native Americans."


However, Theismann made sure to emphasize he is fully embracing the change and the current social movement.

"I think it's a time to get excited," Theismann said. "Let's embrace what's here in front of us, let's embrace this young group of guys."

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