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Alex Smith says Washington 'didn't want' him on team in 2020

Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith, who returned for a long injury absence last season, said the NFC East franchise didn't want him on the roster in 2020. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/9c6b4cdde658905b08bf67c7671162e1/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith, who returned for a long injury absence last season, said the NFC East franchise didn't want him on the roster in 2020. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 24 (UPI) -- Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith completed one of the best career comebacks in NFL history last season, but he says several people within the franchise didn't want him on the roster in 2020.

Smith made the comments in an interview with GQ. The 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year sustained a compound fracture in his right leg in 2018.

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The injury led to life-threatening infections that required more than a dozen additional surgeries. Smith returned to the field on Oct. 11. He then started six games for Washington.

"There was a very small group of people that actually thought that I could do this," Smith told GQ. "I think the rest of the world either doubted me, or they patronized me. ... When I decided to come back, I definitely threw a wrench in the team's plan.

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"They didn't see it, didn't want me there, didn't want me to be a part of it, didn't want me to be on the team, the roster, didn't want to give me a chance."

Smith also said the turnover within the team's coaching staff between when he was injured and when he came back also impacted how Washington felt about his return.

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"It was a whole new regime," Smith said. "They came in [and] I'm like the leftovers and I'm hurt and I'm this liability.

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"Heck no, they didn't want me there. At that point, as you can imagine, everything I'd been through, I couldn't have cared less about all that. Whether you like it or not, I'm giving this a go at this point."

Smith, 36, completed 66.6% of his throws for 1,582 yards, six touchdowns and eight interceptions in eight appearances last season.

He announced in July that he had been cleared by doctors for football activities. Washington placed the veteran quarterback on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list in late July and activated him from the list in August.

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Dwayne Haskins started the season as the team's starting quarterback. Washington benched Haskins in Week 5 and named Smith as a backup to new starter Kyle Allen.

Allen was injured in Week 5 and replaced by Smith, but Allen remained the team's starter in Week 6. Allen then sustained a season-ending injury in Week 9.

Smith started the next five games. He then sustained a calf injury in Week 14 and missed the next two games. Smith started Washington's final game of the season and led the team to a win over the Philadelphia Eagles. He later missed Washington's first-round playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to his calf issue.

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Smith has a $19 million salary next season. Sources told NFL Network in November that coach Ron Rivera and other members of the coaching staff want Smith to return to the team in 2021.

Rivera also told ESPN in early February that he has spoken with Smith and it's possible that Smith is the team's starter in 2021.

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