NFL

Smith excited on road to comeback after life-threatening injury, Washington make history

By Sports Desk August 17, 2020

Washington Football Team veteran Alex Smith said he is excited and feels like a teenager again after being activated off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list having almost lost his life following an horrific leg injury in 2018.

Smith developed life-threatening sepsis and required 17 surgeries to prevent his leg from being amputated after the NFL quarterback suffered a compound fracture of his tibia and fibula two years ago.

However, the 36-year-old and three-time Pro Bowler was cleared for football activity on Sunday, capping a remarkable recovery.

"In the football world, I'm a dinosaur," Smith told ESPN. "But I felt like a 16-year-old again. The nerves, the feeling of excitement, obviously anxiety.

"All that stuff of being alive, the range of emotions of going out there with your team-mates. That's why you play. It felt good to get those nerves going again."

Smith, who went down in November 2018, led Washington to a 6-3 record in 2018, completing 205 of 328 passes for 2,180 yards, 10 touchdown and five interceptions before being sidelined.

"I know a lot of people probably think it's funny that I'm even pursuing this," Smith added. "I really feel like I need to see where this ends. I need to, I need to see what my limitations are, what I'm capable of.

"I really feel like I've been faced with this giant challenge in life. I can't help it. I think that my three little kids see everything that I do. And for me, just kind of continuing to push this and see where it goes, you know, and, and no expectations."

"There are steps," Smith continued. "This isn't something where you just immediately run out there. The next one is to get into team drills and, and obviously see if you can go out there and defend yourself, see if I can go out there and move around.

"Can I adapt? Can I go out there and play football at this level? It's something that will reveal itself."

Washington, meanwhile, made an historic appointment after Jason Wright became the first African-American team president in NFL history on Monday.

Former San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals running back Wright, 38, will oversee the business aspects of the team, while head coach Ron Rivera will maintain control over all on-field footballing decisions.

"From football to business school to McKinsey, I have always enjoyed building exciting new things and taking on the hard, seemingly intractable challenges that others may not want to tackle. I especially love doing this with organisations who have deep history and values that set a firm foundation. This team, at this time, is an ideal opportunity for me," Wright said in a statement.

"The transformation of the Washington Football Team is happening across all aspects of the organisation – from football to operations to branding to culture – and will make us a truly modern and aspirational franchise. We want to set new standards for the NFL.

"As a DMV local and fan, I've been watching this team with interest long before I knew I could become part of it. I believe in Dan Snyder's vision for this organization, and I am looking forward to partnering with coach Rivera, who is a champion for the players and one of the great minds in football. Together, we will define the future of the Washington Football Team."

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  • Wilson lauds Metcalf's 'remarkable' chase down of Baker Wilson lauds Metcalf's 'remarkable' chase down of Baker

    Russell Wilson described DK Metcalf's chase down of Budda Baker as "one of the most remarkable plays" he has ever seen after the Seattle Seahawks' loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

    The Seahawks' unbeaten start to the NFL season came to an end with an 37-34 overtime loss to the Cardinals on Sunday.

    Metcalf produced an incredible play during the second quarter, showing incredible speed to chase down Baker on his 90-yard interception return.

    Wilson said the play by the Seahawks wide receiver was one of the best he had witnessed.

    "It was one of the most remarkable plays I've ever seen," the Seattle quarterback told reporters.

    "The play, the effort by DK, you know, I kind of got blocked by the lineman there and I was trying to get away and I tried to make the effort but DK had the angle, he just kept going man, it was just an unbelievable play by him, just the effort.

    "I really respect him for that and if that's what it takes just as a winning effort, like I've told you guys he's one of the best players in the league, he's one of the most special guys I know.

    "He's one of my best friends and I really respect him, not just because of his effort on that particular play, but that's who he is, that's who he is every day and he's consistent in that way and that's what I love him for."

    Wilson completed 33 of 50 passes for 388 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions, to go with 84 rushing yards, as the Seahawks (5-1) suffered their first loss of the season.

    The MVP candidate became the first player in NFL history to have at least 380 passing yards and 80 rushing yards in a game.

    "I thought we played a great game except for those three plays honestly and those were my fault," Wilson said. "There's so much that we can do and we have so much confidence, our confidence is not going to waver, they're a great football team too.

    "We knew it was going to be a battle, it always is down here and whenever we play, so nothing really changes except for the fact that we just have to tighten up some things. I have to be better, which I'm looking forward to.

    "I'm looking forward to playing the next game, I wish we could play tomorrow and that's just our mentality and we'll be back stronger, we'll be better and I thought we laid it all on the line."

  • Cardinals win OT thriller as Seahawks suffer first loss, Bucs' Brady makes NFL history Cardinals win OT thriller as Seahawks suffer first loss, Bucs' Brady makes NFL history

    The Seattle Seahawks' flawless start to the NFL season came to an end in dramatic fashion against the Arizona Cardinals, while Tom Brady made history in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' crushing win over the Las Vegas Raiders.

    Arizona converted a field goal with only seconds remaining in overtime as the Cardinals completed a thrilling 37-34 comeback win over the previously unbeaten Seahawks on Sunday.

    Brady surpassed New Orleans Saints counterpart Drew Brees for a league record, while Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers also won.

     

    CARDINALS SOAR AS SEAHAWKS FALL

    In one of the games of the season, the Cardinals triumphed thanks to Zane Gonzalez's field goal with 15 seconds remaining in Arizona.

    The Seahawks – led by MVP candidate Russell Wilson – appeared on track to improve to 6-0, having led 27-17 at half-time and 34-24 heading into the final three minutes of regulation.

    But the Cardinals rallied – Kyler Murray's eight-yard pass to Christian Kirk reducing the deficit to three points before Gonzalez converted a 44-yard field goal to force OT.

    Gonzalez had the chance to settle the contest with a field goal early in OT but missed, however, the Cardinals kicker redeemed himself at the death.

    Murray finished 34-of-48 for 360 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, while Wilson was 33-of-50 for 388 yards, three TDs and as many interceptions.

    In a remarkable showdown, Seattle wide receiver DK Metcalf produced a sensational chase-down, delivering a touchdown-saving tackle on Budda Baker's 90-yard interception return in the second quarter.

     

    RECORD-SETTING BRADY INSPIRES BUCS

    Bucs quarterback Brady moved top of the NFL's all-time list for touchdown passes after leading Tampa Bay to a 45-20 rout of the Raiders.

    Brady replaced Brees for the most TD passes in league history with his throw to Tyler Johnson in the fourth quarter.

    A six-time Super Bowl champion, Brady eclipsed Brees' record with his 559th career touchdown pass, one ahead of his Saints counterpart.

    Brady completed 33 of 45 passes for 369 yards and four touchdowns, with no interceptions or sacks against the Raiders (3-3) as NFC South leaders the Buccaneers improved to 5-2 for the season.

    Rob Gronkowski, Scotty Miller – who finished with 109 yards – Chris Godwin and Johnson all connected with Brady for TDs, while Raiders QB Derek Carr was 24-of-36 for 284 yards, two touchdowns, an interception and three sacks.

     

    CHIEFS TAKE DOWN BRONCOS, 49ERS THRASH NEWTON'S PATS

    Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs were too good for the Broncos, winning 43-16 on the road.

    Played in snow, the Chiefs (6-1) led 24-9 at half-time and never looked back as they claimed their 10th consecutive victory over AFC West rivals the Broncos (2-4).

    Mahomes extended his NFL-leading streak to 17 successive games with a touchdown throw, finishing 15-of-23 for 200 yards and a touchdown, while Le'Veon Bell impressed on debut after rushing for 39 yards on six carries.

    It was a forgettable outing for Cam Newton and the New England Patriots, who were easily beaten 33-6 by the 49ers in Foxborough.

    Newton – who was nine-of-15 for 98 yards – threw three interceptions and was replaced in the fourth quarter as the Patriots slumped to their third consecutive loss.

    Former Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo enjoyed his return to New England, where the 49ers star was 20-of-25 for 277 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.

    "It was a cool week," Garoppolo said. "Just a lot of emotions, a lot of memories. Especially coming back here, seeing the same stadium, hearing the same songs they used to play, a lot of memories came back ... But it was a fun night.

    "Couldn't imagine it going any better than this."

    Meanwhile, Justin Herbert threw three touchdowns as the Los Angeles Chargers defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 39-29.

     

    Week 7 scores:

    Philadelphia Eagles 22-21 New York Giants
    Pittsburgh Steelers 27-24 Tennessee Titans
    Washington Football Team 25-3 Dallas Cowboys
    Buffalo Bills 18-10 New York Jets
    New Orleans Saints 27-24 Carolina Panthers
    Green Bay Packers 35-20 Houston Texans
    Cleveland Browns 37-34 Cincinnati Bengals
    Detroit Lions 23-22 Atlanta Falcons
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers 45-20 Las Vegas Raiders
    San Francisco 49ers 33-6 New England Patriots
    Kansas City Chiefs 43-16 Denver Broncos
    Los Angeles Chargers 39-29 Jacksonville Jaguars
    Arizona Cardinals 37-34 Seattle Seahawks (OT)

  • Brady relishing Brown reunion in Tampa Bay as Bucs coach Arians talks up 'second chances' Brady relishing Brown reunion in Tampa Bay as Bucs coach Arians talks up 'second chances'

    Tom Brady said he excited to reunite with former New England Patriots team-mate Antonio Brown at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    Brown has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with the Buccaneers after the All-Pro wide receiver was released by the Patriots in September last year amid sexual assault allegations he denied.

    The seven-time Pro Bowler has been banned for eight games due to "multiple violations of the NFL's personal conduct policy", and he will not be eligible to return until Week 9.

    Brown only made one appearance for the Patriots, having been previously released by the Las Vegas Raiders, recording 56 yards and a touchdown as he briefly teamed up with Brady.

    Brady has since joined the Buccaneers – who he has guided to a 5-2 record this season – and the six-time Super Bowl champion is relishing the opportunity to work with Brown again.

    "He's a tremendous football player. I played with him for a brief period of time. Looking forward to working with him again, to see what role he can come in [and play]," Brady told reporters after completing 33 of 45 passes for 369 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-20 win against the Raiders, while he moved top of the NFL's all-time list for TD passes.

    "He's a very hard-working guy ... We're all gonna go out there on the practice field and do the best we can do. And we're gonna see how it all fits together. There's a lot of hard work ahead. None of it just magically happens. I think we realised that early in the season, we put a lot of new people together, and we've gotta figure a lot of things out in a short period of time.

    "We're fighting against continuity of a lot of other teams, a lot of other coaches. Bruce has had tremendous patience with me, watching me grow in the offense. I totally appreciate that and respect that and feel like I'm getting to a more comfortable place."

    Having entered the league with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010, Brown has amassed 11,263 receiving yards and caught 75 touchdowns in his career.

    Bruce Arians previously said Brown "was not a fit" for the Buccaneers and when asked about the change in stance regarding the 32-year-old, the Tampa Bay head coach told reporters: "I think he's matured, and I believe in second chances.

    "Everybody wants to say that Tom picked him. Tom didn't have anything to do with it. This was something Jason [Licht, Buccaneers general manager] and I had been talking [about] for a couple weeks, ever since the injuries to our other guys.

    "When the time was right, would we see if we could pull the trigger and fit him in to what we want to get done? And we'll see. If Antonio does what I think he's gonna do, I think he's gonna be fine."

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