Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera has admitted that he feared to play quarterback Alex Smith last year. Smith, who suffered one of the most gruesome injuries ever seen on a football field in 2018, was ready to return this past season but he didn't feel wanted by Washington when training camp came.
"It was always in the back of my head, what if he gets hurt again? What if he hurts that leg again? I'll be the guy that put him back on the field to get him hurt again," Rivera said, per ESPN. "I struggled with that every day.
That was tough." In a recent interview with GQ Magazine, Smith opened about how he felt not wanted by Washington this past summer. "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 told the magazine.
"Mind you, it was a whole new regime, they came in; I'm like the leftovers and I'm hurt and I'm this liability. "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 was released by Washington
Smith didn't feel wanted in training camp but he ended up leading the team to the playoffs and he earned the Comeback Player of the Year award.
"I felt like I still hadn't had my fair shake at that point," Smith told GQ. "I wanted to see if I could play quarterback and play football, and I feel like I hadn't been given that opportunity yet to find that out.
It's like getting this close to the end line of a marathon and they're telling you that you can't finish the race. It's like, f--- that. I'm finishing this thing. At least I'm going to see if I can. So, I'm thankful we worked through all that stuff but no, it wasn't like open arms coming back after two years."
Rivera and Smith met before the quarterback was officially released by Washington. "It was very positive," Rivera said of their meeting. "We both had a chance to see the other side and perspective. I don't disagree with a lot of things he said.
They were fair. The biggest thing we talked about, there was no road map to get us to where we were. I told him exactly how I felt and how hard it was for us."