Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith completed his comeback story on Sunday, making his first appearance since a horrific leg injury in 2018 almost cost the veteran his life.

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 returned as Washington lost 30-10 to the Los Angeles Rams.

"Very surreal at first," Smith told reporters afterwards. "To have it happen as fast as it did was almost a blessing. ... Just no thinking and going and playing."

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.

On Sunday, Smith was sacked six times as he finished nine-of-17 for 37 yards against the Rams in Week 5.

Smith entered the game at the two-minute warning in the second quarter following Kyle Allen's injury.

"I've been waiting on that for a long time," Smith said, discussing the first hit. "The first one felt good. It's nice to know that you're fine and ... knock the cobwebs off so to speak."

"I'd be lying if I said there weren't a lot of days where I didn't think it was going to happen," Smith continued.

Washington head coach Ron Rivera has announced Dwayne Haskins will be his team's starting quarterback for Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The 2019 first-round pick faced competition from veteran Alex Smith - who is coming back from a horrific leg injury - and the recently acquired Kyle Allen, who is well known to Rivera following their time with the Carolina Panthers. 

After a difficult season in 2019, Haskins has been given the full backing of his new coach.

"Dwayne's lived up to everything we talked about in January," Rivera said. "He deserves the opportunity. He's going to get the opportunity, and he's going to get my support."

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Chargers have named Tyrod Taylor their starting quarterback for 2020.

The 31-year-old, who was the Buffalo Bills' starter from 2015 to 2017, has been preferred to rookie Justin Herbert for the spot.

"Right now Tyrod Taylor is our starter," Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. 

"Until someone steps up and shows that they can run this team, that's the way we're going into it."

The Chargers open their 2020 season at the Cincinnati Bengals on September 13, the same day that Washington take on Philadelphia.

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."

The Washington Football Team activated Alex Smith off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list on Sunday following a horrific leg injury in 2018.

Smith developed life-threatening sepsis and required 17 surgeries to prevent his leg from being amputated after the veteran 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.

Smith's wife Elizabeth shared a video on social media as the family celebrated the former San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback's return.

It remains to be seen just what Smith's role looks like in Washington, where Ron Rivera is head coach and also has 2019 first-round draft pick Dwayne Haskins at his disposal.

But Smith's story and his path back to the field, regardless of the ultimate outcome, has been celebrated across the league.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who worked with Smith from 2013 to 2017, said: "How great is that [coming off the PUP list]? I'm so happy for him. I know how he is – he's dirty tough and he loves playing the game.

"He didn't want to end the way it ended with the leg, so now he's back. We all saw the special on him and the rehab that he went through, that day-in and day-out grind of the rehab, so I'm happy for him.

"I'm very, very happy for him, and I'm happy for the Washington team too."

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.

Washington are scheduled to open their 2020 season against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 13.

Ron Rivera has hinted Dwayne Haskins role as Washington Football Team's starting quarterback is not secure and Alex Smith could challenge him as he bids to make a remarkable comeback.

Haskins – a first-round draft pick in 2019 – seemed set to serve as Washington's first-choice quarterback in 2020 after an indifferent rookie season.

The 23-year-old shared quarterback duties last year, but Case Keenum has since moved on to the Cleveland Browns.

However, Rivera has suggested it will not be straightforward for Haskins, with veteran Alex Smith making progress towards a return to the field few thought possible when he suffered a compound fracture of his tibia and fibula in 2018.

The devastating injury saw Smith miss the entire 2019 season, with the former first overall pick then developing life-threatening sepsis and requiring 17 surgeries to prevent his leg from being amputated.

Smith was cleared to resume football activities in July but remains on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.

"The biggest thing we've got to do is not make sure we're divvying up the reps as evenly as possible, but we divvy up who they work against," Rivera told a news conference.

"This could be a very interesting challenge for us because of Alex Smith. If Alex is healthy and continues to get healthy and we do activate him, he's going to be in the throes of this competition.

"It's going to unfold very nicely as a football team for us because competition is only going to make you better. It's going to push the young guys as well.

"I just feel really good about what we're going to be doing as we start going forward. It'll be a very challenging situation to make sure everybody's reps are equitable, and their competition is the same."

While Rivera seems set on giving Smith a chance, he also backed Haskins to become a leader for the team this season.

"I think the one thing I did say to Dwayne in one of the opportunities he came to first see me was being the leader is not just what you do on the football field, but what you do off of the football field as well," Rivera said.

"He's taken that to heart and has done a great job. He's competing, he's doing the things we need him to do, he's being very professional about the way he's handling himself and he's really been very thoughtful in terms of his actions.

"So that's one thing that's been a big plus. It really has. I've been really pleased with what we've got from him."

A large part of sport's huge appeal is the chance for the seemingly impossible to be achieved.

Shane Long and Chris Gayle realised that potential on April 23, each entering the record books in their respective sports.

Long and Gayle etched their name into the history books for delivering in quick time, but on this date 15 years ago Aaron Rodgers' NFL Draft experience was anything but swift.

Here we look back on some of the most memorable moments from the world of sport to take place on April 23.

 

1991: Borg way past his best on comeback

Having initially retired as an 11-time grand slam champion in 1984, Borg made his return to the tennis court, but was a shadow of his former self.

The 34-year-old proved too slow to compete with Jordi Arrese at the Monte Carlo Open, his Spanish opponent easing to a 6-2 6-3 win in just 78 minutes.

Borg went on to suffer first-round exits in 12 tournaments before putting the racquet down for good.

2005: Niners go with Smith over Rodgers

The San Francisco 49ers held the first pick in the 2005 NFL Draft and the sentimental choice was clear.

Quarterback Rodgers, a Northern California native who had starred across the bay from San Francisco in Berkeley for the California Golden Bears and grew up a 49ers fan, was among the cream of the crop.

However, instead of selecting Rodgers, the 49ers went with Utah quarterback Alex Smith, leading to a now-infamous draft-day slide.

Rodgers was eventually selected 24th overall by the Green Bay Packers and, as Smith experienced a rollercoaster career with the Niners, went on to establish himself as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time.

He won a Super Bowl with Green Bay at the end of the 2010 season, but revenge over the Niners has not been forthcoming. Rodgers has faced the 49ers three times in the playoffs and lost on all three occasions, including in last season's NFC Championship game.

2013: Universe boss sends records world records tumbling

West Indies star Chris Gayle is famed for his explosive batting, and he delivered in record-breaking fashion seven years ago.

Playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, Gayle struck an incredible unbeaten 175 against Pune Warriors.

Hitting 13 fours and a scarcely believable 17 sixes in a memorable 66-ball stay, Gayle set records for the fastest Twenty20 century and the highest T20 score of all time.

It truly was a day on which the self-titled 'Universe Boss' lived up to his moniker.

2019: Shane didn't need long to score

April 23, 2019 is a date Ledley King may want to forget, as the former Tottenham defender saw his record for the fastest Premier League goal broken by Shane Long.

The Southampton striker needed just 7.69 seconds to score in a 1-1 draw with Watford at Vicarage Road.

His effort was over two seconds quicker than King's, who netted for Spurs after 10 seconds against Bradford City back on December 9, 2000.

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