An improbable comeback for Alex Smith has met an uncertain future.
As far as Smith’s teammate last season, Taylor Heinicke, is concerned, though, he wants the veteran back on the Washington Football Team.
“He means a lot to the team,” Heinicke told NFL Network’s Andrew Siciliano Thursday on NFL Now. “He brings a lot to the table. Hopefully we can bring him back. I know a lot of the guys love him and he’s good for the locker room and he can still play. But football’s a crazy business. So who knows what’s going to happen.”
Heinicke spoke glowingly of Smith on Thursday, particularly Smith’s handling of the week leading up to Washington’s Super Wild Card Weekend showdown with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
With Smith dealing with a calf injury, Heinicke got the start and performed admirably and memorably in the loss to the Buccaneers.
Though Smith surprised plenty with recent comments in a GQ article that the Washington Football Team “didn’t want me there” at the onset of the 2020 season, Heinicke received nothing but support free of any awkwardness in preparation for the postseason.
“It wasn’t awkward at all,” Heinicke said. “Alex is a great dude. He knows it was his team. If he was ready to go, he would’ve gone. It just felt like he wasn’t ready to go during that week. He wasn’t getting a lot of practice reps. I was getting the majority of them.”
With Smith taking a questionable tag into the game, Heinicke was officially named the starter on game day, while the veteran signal-caller’s uplifting season came to its conclusion with an inactive designation.
Heinicke, who’d played in just eight games over a career that began in 2017 with the Texans, made his second career start in that playoff game and was told he would do so a day prior to the announcement.
“Coach Ron Rivera told me that Friday before the game I would be starting,” Heinicke said. “Alex is a great dude. He pushed off treatments, sometimes that week just to be in the quarterback room with me kind of going over film and helping me through the whole process. It just speaks tremendous character to him.”
While Washington lost to the eventual Super Bowl champions, Heinicke threw for 306 yards and a score and ran for 46 yards and another touchdown on a dive into the end zone. Coming against a Bucs defense that went on to confound Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl, Heinicke left a lasting impression, even if it was just the snapshot of one game.
In the afterglow of an uplifting season in which Smith returned from a horrendous leg injury that put his playing future in doubt, the veteran QB’s revelation in the aforementioned GQ article that all was not open arms and welcoming smiles from the Washington regime proved startling for many. But it all played out with an NFC East title and an AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year nod for Smith.
Looking forward, though, Smith’s future is unclear.
The 36-year-old former first-rounder is still an injury question and possesses a $23.3 million cap number in 2021. Heinicke, on the other hand, recently signed a two-year extension with the WFT.
Smith no doubt has many rooting on another comeback and Heinicke is one of them.
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