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Barack Obama sends congratulations to ‘friend’ Alex Smith after NFL return

SHARE Barack Obama sends congratulations to ‘friend’ Alex Smith after NFL return

Former President Barack Obama, left, and Washington’s Alex Smith, right.

Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — Alex Smith’s return to an NFL field for the first time in 693 days, his first action since he suffered the leg injury that nearly took his career and his life, completed an inspirational comeback story. Many sent well wishes to Smith following his game against the Los Angeles Rams, and a notable figure sent his congratulations as well.

Former president Barack Obama congratulated the former Utah quarterback in a message posted to Twitter.

“Congratulations to my friend Alex Smith, for fighting back from a life-threatening injury to start at quarterback again for the Washington Football Team. It’s a testament to his strength, determination and the love and support of his family,” Obama wrote.

Obama and Smith have met before, back in 2012. When Smith was playing for the San Francisco 49ers, he attended an Obama fundraiser in San Francisco and chatted with the then-president.

“Very cool. Huge honor,” Smith said after the fundraiser, according to SFGate. “He talked ball the whole time. He was down to earth. He knew what was going on with us.”

Smith’s sister, MacKenzie, worked with both Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama during their time at the White House. She was special assistant to the president and director of scheduling and advance for Michelle Obama. The Obamas were guests at MacKenzie Smith’s wedding.

In 2017, Smith recalled meeting Obama in the Oval Office in 2016 in an interview with Graham Bensinger.

“It was awesome. We were in the Oval Office. It was a fun time to hang with him there for a little while. I had met him before,” Smith said. “He’s a pretty big sports fan, very vocal about his Chicago teams. He likes to talk ball. I’m sure he gets tired of talking politics. It was very cool. It was a fun visit to be there behind the scenes with that kind of access.”