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Alex Smith clears another hurdle in his comeback: Making the Washington Football Team’s 53-man roster

Former Utah Ute officially named to the Washington Football Team’s active roster on Saturday, and will likely serve as the team’s third-string quarterback initially

Washington quarterback Alex Smith (11) catches the ball during practice at the team’s NFL football training facility, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, in Ashburn, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

SALT LAKE CITY — Former University of Utah star quarterback Alex Smith on Saturday took another big step in his quest to play in the NFL again, as he was officially named to the Washington Football Team’s initial 53-man active roster.

Smith has not played since November of 2018 after sustaining a leg injury, complications of which nearly led to amputation, but he was named to the active roster alongside other Washington quarterbacks Dwayne Haskins — the team’s starter — and Kyle Allen.

ESPN’s John Keim reported Sunday that Smith will likely be third on the depth chart behind Haskins and Allen at least initially, meaning he would be inactive during the season.

“He was very passionate about wanting to play again,” Keim quoted Washington head coach Ron Rivera as saying, “very passionate about making this team. That stood out to me. Mentally, I think he was past the hurdle.”

Smith was cleared for full contact in July and removed from the physically unable to perform list on Aug. 16, but Keim wrote Sunday that there was skepticism he would be able to make the team, including from Rivera.

The 36-year-old Smith has played 13 seasons in the NFL after being drafted first overall out of Utah by the San Francisco 49ers in 2005.