Smith was the No. 1 overall pick in the draft while Rodgers had to wait several hours before going to the Packers with the 24th overall pick.
Rodgers has watched as Smith has tried to restart his NFL career after a gruesome leg injury in 2018 led to extensive surgeries and an infection that nearly required his leg to be amputated.
“I’m just really proud to know him,” Rodgers said, via Matt Schneidman of TheAthletic.com. “I was asked by a few people like ‘what is he doing?’ And I thought, ‘I’d be doing the same thing.’ I think when you’re a competitor – and I know how Alex is, I’ve known him for a long time obviously – just the drive that he has. I think he wanted to prove it to himself he could come back and compete still.”
Smith has been cleared to return to football and even took his first full-team reps in practice with Washington over the weekend. Rodgers saw the ESPN story that followed Smith’s struggles and recovery from the broken leg that nearly ended his career in 2018. He’s hoping Smith gets the chance to return to the field given all that he’s gone through.
“He’s a great guy and has a great family,” Rodgers said. “He’s been a great face of this league for so many years. I’ve enjoyed competing against him. I’ve enjoyed watching him. And he’s one of the NFL good guys. I think there’s been so many people that have been pulling for him in his recovery and especially after watching the piece on him, how can you not pull for that guy? He’s a spectacular guy and I hope he gets an opportunity to play this year.”