Washington QB Alex Smith will take time to ponder NFL future

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Reuters) — Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith said he's going to take some time to ponder his future in the game.

Smith made an inspirational recovery from a devastating compound fracture suffered in a game against the Houston Texans in November 2018 -- one that required 17 surgeries to treat the injury and a life-threatening infection -- to lead Washington's charge to the playoffs in 2020, but a calf injury kept him out of Saturday's wild-card loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

He told reporters on Sunday that this season was a thrill.

"I had so much fun this year, especially given all the COVID stuff," he said. "But to be back in the locker room, to be on the field with the guys, to be playing a game I love and to lose yourself in it, it's one of the greatest feelings in the world. You cannot duplicate it outside of here.

"And for me, I'm going to take a few weeks. My wife has been through a lot and my family, certainly I'm going to take their input. But that's something that right now I'm still just living in the moment and not getting ahead of myself. That is for another time and place."

Smith, 36, was 5-1 as the starter on a team that finished 7-9 -- good enough to win the NFC East. Washington started the season with Dwayne Haskins at quarterback, then turned to Kyle Allen, who went down with a season-ending dislocated ankle in Week 9.

Undrafted quarterback Taylor Heinicke started Saturday's playoff game. Smith said he understood coach Ron Rivera's decision to start Heinicke but that watching from the sidelines was "really difficult."

"I was willing to absolutely go out there, but coach felt with [Tampa Bay's] defense, the pressure they brought, their defensive line, that it just wasn't fair, and obviously (decided to) go with Taylor and his ability to use his legs," Smith said. "And I totally get that. Totally understood it."

Washington enters the offseason with a big question mark at quarterback, and Smith might not be the answer. He has two years remaining on a contract that is due to pay him $18.75 million in 2021 and $20.75 million in 2022.

Should the team cut him, it will save $14.7 million against the salary cap. Washington also could bring him back at a reduced salary.

Smith, who was the No. 1 selection in the 2005 NFL Draft, said there are a lot of considerations as he mulls his future.

"Again, I'm going to get away and with a clear head, sit down and go over everything and make the best decision," Smith said. "But I can't say how much I loved the opportunity to be here (as) a part of this team, to get back out there and obviously play this amazing game."

Smith finished the season with a 66.7 percent (168 of 252) completion rate and 1,582 passing yards in eight games. He threw six touchdown passes and eight interceptions.

--Field Level Media

© Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021


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