Alex Smith’s once unimaginable return to football appears imminent.
The veteran quarterback is undergoing his physical with Washington team doctors Monday, and he will start training camp on the active/physically unable to perform list, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported.
The team later announced the transaction and that Smith would be joined on the active/PUP list by linebacker Rueben Foster. Foster, a 2017 first-round pick with the 49ers, has yet to play for the Washington Football Team and missed all of 2019.
With Smith in the building, he’ll be able to lend his wisdom to his younger teammates in the quarterbacks room while also continuing his on-field work on the side, Rapoport added.
Monday’s development comes after it was revealed Friday that Smith’s doctors had cleared him to return to football activities.
Smith’s gruesome, compound fracture ended his season in November 2018, but that was only the beginning of his problems. Smith underwent surgery to repair the fracture, then soon after developed a flesh-eating bacterial infection that nearly took his life. He soon became septic, shifting his doctors’ focus from a path back to the field, to finding a way to save his life.
Thus began a long, arduous journey for the quarterback, who underwent 17 surgeries and wore a complicated, halo-like contraption known as an external fixator to keep his leg stabilized at all times. He was finally freed from the brace a little more than a year ago, but his path back to a normal life was far from over.
Now, it seems as if his long battle is finally winding down. Smith’s future might not be in Washington, where the franchise was forced to plan for the future in the absence of Smith, drafting Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins in 2019 and essentially putting him behind the wheel entering 2020. But if Smith ends up taking more than a ceremonial snap in his NFL career — all signs seem to be pointing to him doing so — it will complete one of the most unlikely comeback stories in the game’s history.