Alex Smith's Toughness And Class

17 surgeries since the injury. That is insane.

Jim Rome
April 28, 2020 - 11:14 am
Alex Smith

USA Today

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Everyone already knew that Alex Smith was one of the classiest guys in football. And if you didn’t know, all you had to do was watch how he handled things in Kansas City when Patrick Mahomes was drafted.

Smith knew he was going to eventually lose his job to Mahomes, but he didn’t get pissed off about it and refuse to help out the youngster. Instead, he did the exact opposite. He taught Mahomes everything that he had learned in his career.

As Andy Reid said before the Super Bowl, Smith taught Mahomes “How to study, diet, his workout regimen, and how to get family acclimated into the NFL.”

Mahomes himself said “It was the stuff that takes your whole career to learn, and [Smith] taught me that in my first year and it’s helped me have success at such an early age.”

And true to form, Smith texted Mahomes right after the Super Bowl to say he enjoyed the win as much as the rest of the team did.

Smith didn’t have to do all of that.  He didn’t have to do ANY of that. And you know some guys wouldn’t. But Smith did. So you already knew he was classy as hell. But we already knew that. Now…. Now you have proof that Alex Smith is tough as hell.

Alex Smith is the toughest guy in football. And that might actually be an understatement. He might be the toughest guy on the planet.

After Smith was traded to Washington, he had led the team to a 6-3 start to the 2018 season and then in a game against Houston, he was sacked and suffered a major injury to his right leg.

Major is also an understatement. Catastrophic might be more accurate. He suffered a compound fracture of the tibia and a fractured fibula as well. In case you aren’t familiar with it, a compound fracture is when the bone penetrates the skin. It comes out of the skin.

It is the stuff of nightmares. And that injury was only the start. Because Smith’s wound became infected and then he was battling sepsis, which can be life-threatening.

And definitely leg-threatening. He spent an extended period of time under heavy sedation and his memory of what followed isn’t clear, but as he told Jeremy Schaap earlier this year, “[the] next thing I remember is waking up several weeks later faced with the decision of amputation or limb salvage at that point."

Two of the scariest things ever.  Amputation. And limb salvage….Amputation?!?. Ampu-freaking-tation. That’s what he was facing. And when you see the photo of his leg that was released ahead of a documentary about his comeback, you’ll understand why.

If you haven’t seen it and you’re thinking about eating today or for the rest of the week, don’t look at it. It is horrific. I’m not going to show it on TV. It is revolting and disgusting. If you see it, you will not be able to get it out of your head for days. I caught it out of the corner of my eye on one of my monitors, during the show yesterday, and threw up in my mouth. 

It looks like someone ran over his leg with a train. And then set it on fire. And then ran over it again. It does not look like the kind of injury you suffer on a football field. It looks like something from a horrific car accident or a fire fight or something even worse.

It does not look human. If you told me it was a pic of something that was on board one of Tom’s UFO’s, I’d believe you.

Because that does not look like the leg on a person, let alone an NFL quarterback. And it sure as heck doesn’t look like a leg that can be used to walk on. Or run with. Or play football.  Not even in the backyard, much less the NFL. 

He HAS UNDERGONE 17 surgeries since the injury. That is insane.

You go through that and you are tough as hell. You go through that and you keep thinking about playing in the NFL again, you are legendarily tough. That is unbelievable. See that photo and then hear him talking about his journey and the work he’s put in and it is jaw-dropping.

As Smith says in the trailer for the documentary, “from what I understand, this has never happened to a professional athlete.” I can’t imagine it has. Because I’ve never seen anything like it before.

You see that photo of his leg and you hear about possible amputation, or death, and then you see him pushing a sled in rehab and training and there is absolutely nothing but respect. And honestly, AWE. 

He’s gone from playing football at the highest level to having to consider if removing his leg would be the best thing and now he’s saying that football might not be out of the question. That is mind-blowing to me. Absolutely amazing.

I can’t get that image of his leg out of my head and that’s not my leg. It’s his leg. I’m haunted by it and I only saw it, I don’t have to live it. I cannot imagine the nightmare than he and his family have lived through and that he has chosen to battle through.

Just walking right now is a huge win. But if he somehow comes back to throw a pass in an NFL game, that is the stuff of legends.

Classy as hell. Tough as hell. And inspirational as hell. On the one hand, I can’t wait to see the documentary;  on the other hand, I’m not sure I can stomach watching it; and this legend is freaking living it; and doing the work. I always believed David Goggins was the toughest man on earth. No I think it might be Alex Smith.