Perspective | After the greatest comeback in sports history, Alex Smith’s next stop should be the Hall of Fame

I do know all of the buts. His numbers as an NFL quarterback throughout a 14-season profession (he sat out 2008 and 2019 with accidents) are good, even perhaps excellent. However Corridor of Fame worthy? Oh, no, not that. He by no means received a Tremendous Bowl, though he was the beginning quarterback for a lot of the 2012 season, after which the San Francisco 49ers reached the Tremendous Bowl. He was injured, misplaced his job to Colin Kaepernick and watched from the sidelines because the 49ers misplaced, 34-31, to the Baltimore Ravens in Tremendous Bowl XLVII.

When Mahomes grew to become the Chiefs’ starter the next 12 months, he talked usually about how supportive Smith had been and the way a lot he had discovered from him. Alex and his spouse, Elizabeth, had Mahomes and his then-girlfriend, Brittany Matthews, over to dinner each Tuesday evening that season. That’s how Smith handled the man he knew was going to take his job.

Nobody — nobody — anticipated him to play within the NFL once more after he went by means of 17 surgical procedures and handled infections that would have killed him. Strolling once more, having the ability to play together with his three kids once more, would have been a serious victory, a tremendous comeback. He did that, however then he did extra. He got here again to play within the NFL in 2020. To play. Washington went 5-1 with him beginning final season though the “however …” guys will let you know he wasn’t all that nice in these video games, simply ok to win. Uh-huh, tremendous. Together with the playoffs, the crew was 2-9 in video games through which Smith didn’t begin.

That is the place I make my disclaimer. Through the 2017 season, once I was writing a ebook about taking part in quarterback within the NFL, Smith was one of many 5 males I labored intently with all through the season. He was trustworthy, affected person and all the time out there to speak at size — win or lose, even after the Chiefs’ season-ending playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans, a sport Kansas Metropolis led 21-3 at halftime.

So I admit to being biased the place Smith is anxious. However I don’t assume it’s a must to be biased to grasp that, in the event you have a look at the totality of what he completed, he ought to have a bust in Canton some day.

However even and not using a particular character clause, voters can take into accounts an individual’s character — particularly a good individual’s character. Smith was all the time that, however his comeback put him in a distinct class: He’s an inspiration to anybody who suffers a debilitating setback of any type.

Braveness is a phrase that’s vastly overused in sports activities. It doesn’t take braveness to go for a inexperienced over water in two or to take a cost within the lane. However to stroll onto an NFL subject after what Smith had gone by means of takes actual braveness. On his first drive in October, Smith received hammered by Aaron Donald, the Los Angeles Rams’ 280-pound all-pro defensive deal with. Whereas everybody watching gasped in horror, Smith received up and took the following snap. And the one after that.

At that second, even earlier than he began six video games, Smith had — in my thoughts — accomplished the best comeback in sports activities historical past.

However this was soccer. Neither Hogan nor Compton needed to fear about being slammed into by a 280-pound man operating full velocity whereas he stood over a putt.

That’s soccer. That’s sports activities. Smith understood.

He’ll find yourself as a coach or a common supervisor or on tv. He might be excellent at any job he chooses.

But when being a Corridor of Famer is greater than about simply numbers — and it ought to be — then Smith ought to be a lock. He stands for the whole lot that’s good about sports activities. He achieved the inconceivable, and he did it with class and dignity each step of the best way. A Corridor of Famer ought to be somebody who leaves an indelible legacy on his sport.

There may be completely little doubt that Alex Smith did precisely that.

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