- The Washington Times - Monday, October 21, 2019

ASHBURN — Redskins quarterback Alex Smith has begun throwing as he works his way back from the serious leg injury he suffered nearly a year ago. Interim coach Bill Callahan said Monday the 35-year-old has been “working diligently” on his rehab.

Smith has been throwing “for some time now,” Callahan said. On Monday, he was spotted working with coaches on the team’s practice field. He was also seen in the locker room, wearing a long, black brace on his right leg.

The quarterback suffered a compound fracture last November against the Houston Texans, requiring 17 surgeries due to infections.

“I’ve never seen anything like it, I really haven’t,” Callahan said. “I’ve never seen anything like the effort he’s pouring into his rehab. It’s so impressive, and for him to be going out there in the stages he’s gone through, he’s got the ultimate respect from all of us.

“I think as a competitor, wanting to get back out on the field again and wanting to play again after what he’s gone through, the trauma he’s gone through, that just speak volumes for his passion and for his will.”

In July, Smith was placed on the team’s physically unable to perform list. He will not play this year as he did not get his external fixator — a medical device used to stabilize the leg — removed until mid-July.

Smith has not addressed local media since the injury, but has told a few reporters he plans on playing again.

Without Smith, the Redskins have struggled to find stability at quarterback. They’ve cycled through five signal-callers since his injury and drafted rookie Dwayne Haskins to be his replacement. The coaching staff, though, views Haskins as not ready for game action. Case Keenum will start again Thursday against the Minnesota Vikings.

Smith, who signed a four-year, $94 million extension when traded to the Redskins in 2018, carries a $20.4 million cap hit for 2019 and a $21.4 million hit for 2020.

“It’s been a progression that he’s built up,” Callahan said of Smith’s rehab. “He hasn’t just come out there and started throwing 50-yard bombs, but it’s been over time.”

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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