Quarterback Alex Smith, who rebounded from a severe leg injury suffered in 2018 that sidelined him until the 2020 season when he worked his way back into the Washington Football Team's starting lineup, was selected as the 2020 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, chosen in voting conducted by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA).
Smith started the first 10 games of the 2018 season and completed 205 of 338 passes for 2,180 yards with 10 touchdowns and only five interceptions. On Nov. 18, 2018, in a game against Houston, Smith suffered a spiral fracture in his right leg when he was tackled. A severe infection took hold after he was taken to the hospital for surgery, which endangered his life. He went through 17 surgeries over a nine-month period to save, and later repair, his leg. He endured an arduous physical therapy regimen as he recovered and made a goal to return to the NFL.
He returned to Washington's roster for the club's 2020 training camp and finally got back on the field vs. the Rams on Oct. 11, completing 9 of 17 passes for 37 yards. He replaced an injured Kyle Allen in the Nov. 8 game vs. the Giants and threw for 325 yards and a touchdown. The next week, he started his first game since 2018 on Nov. 15 at Detroit. He completed 38 of 55 passes for 390 yards against the Lions -- all career highs. He played eight games with six starts in 2020, and he completed 168 of 252 passes (66.7 completion %) for 1,582 yards and six touchdowns.
Smith is the first member of the Washington franchise to receive Comeback Player of the Year honors since the award was instituted in 1992.
1992 - QB Randall Cunningham, Philadelphia Eagles 1993 - RB Marcus Allen, Kansas City Chiefs 1994 - QB Dan Marino, Miami Dolphins 1995 - QB Jim Harbaugh, Indianapolis Colts 1996 - RB Jerome Bettis, Pittsburgh Steelers 1997 - WR Robert Brooks, Green Bay Packers 1998 - QB Doug Flutie, Buffalo Bills 1999 - DT Bryant Young, San Francisco 49ers 2000 - DE Joe Johnson, New Orleans Saints 2001 - RB Garrison Hearst, San Francisco 49ers 2002 - QB Tommy Maddox, Pittsburgh Steelers 2003 - QB Jon Kitna, Cincinnati Bengals 2004 - RB Willis McGahee, Buffalo Bills 2005 - WR Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers 2006 - QB Chad Pennington, New York Jets 2007 - WR Randy Moss, New England Patriots 2008 - QB Chad Pennington, Miami Dolphins 2009 - QB Tom Brady, New England Patriots 2010 - QB Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles 2011 - QB Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions 2012 - RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings 2013 - QB Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers 2014 - TE Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots 2015 - S Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs 2016 - WR Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers 2017 - WR Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers 2018 - QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts 2019 - QB Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans 2020 - QB Alex Smith, Washington Football Team.