When former Utah quarterback Alex Smith first entered a game earlier this year for the Washington Football Team, he was already being hailed as the surefire winner for NFL Comeback Player of the Year.

That’s because Smith had come back from a life-threatening leg injury in 2018 that nearly led to his leg being amputated. Yet, two years later, he was back on the field following extensive rehabilitation, helping Washington reach the postseason. During his six starts this season, Washington went 5-1.

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Now, those comeback player of the year honors are starting to roll in for the No. 1 pick in the 2005 NFL draft.

From Pro Football Focus: “Smith’s comeback to just being active on a gameday roster was worthy of winning this award, but for him to take back the starting job from a struggling Dwayne Haskins and provide a clear upgrade at the position is one of the greatest comeback stories in NFL history,” wrote Sam Monson.

From Sporting News: “He was a testament to perseverance just working to get himself back on the field. Smith became a bigger inspiration starting again and going 5-1 during the regular season to help Washington win the division under new offensive coordinator Scott Turner and new head coach Ron Rivera,” wrote Vinnie Ayer.

From Pro Football Writers Association: “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,” a PFWA press release read. “... Smith is the first member of the Washington franchise to receive Comeback Player of the Year honors since the award was instituted in 1992.”

The Associated Press NFL Comeback Player of the Year will be named during the league’s NFL Honors ceremony Feb. 6.