Alex Smith won the award in September when he made the 53-player roster. The Washington quarterback solidified it in Week 5 with his first appearance since Nov. 18, 2018, when a horrific right leg injury ended his season and threatened his career.
In the most unsurprising vote for an award in NFL history, Smith won Comeback Player of the Year. The Associated Press announced him as the winner of the official award during the NFL Honors show Saturday night.
The only surprise was one person didn’t vote for Smith, who received 49 of the 50 votes. Roethlisberger got the other vote.
Smith played eight games, and his 5-1 record as a starter helped Washington make the playoffs for the first time since 2015. He missed the wild-card game against the Bucs with a calf injury.
Smith endured 17 surgeries that first saved his leg from amputation and then his life after a severe infection. He missed the 2019 season, but against all odds, returned in 2020 and became the starter in Week 10.
He finished with 1,582 passing yards with six touchdowns and eight interceptions.
“I think it was hard for a lot of people to digest that I wanted to do this, that I wanted to attempt this,” Smith told the Associated Press. “I did get a lot of pushback throughout the entire process. Why was I doing this? This was crazy. There were definitely periods throughout the entire two years of setbacks and when I really would doubt anything like this was possible.”