11/18 17:16 CST Theismann 'turned away' after seeing Redskins QB Smith hurt
Theismann 'turned away' after seeing Redskins QB Smith hurt
By HOWARD FENDRICH
AP Pro Football Writer
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) --- Alex Smith seemed to know immediately this was bad.
Really, really bad. He covered his face with both hands, then a white towel,
before his fractured right leg was placed in an air cast and he was carted off
One of his predecessors as quarterback of the Washington Redskins, Joe
Theismann, was at Sunday's game and sensed the same --- all-too-familiar with
what a season-ending broken leg looks and feels like.
Exactly 33 years to the day after Theismann's gruesome injury during a
nationally televised game , Smith went down with breaks to his right fibula and
tibia midway through the third quarter of Washington's 23-21 loss to the
visiting Houston Texans on Sunday and was replaced at QB by backup Colt McCoy.
Redskins coach Jay Gruden said Smith would have surgery "right away."
"I saw a pile of people go down, and then I saw Alex's leg in the position it
was in. And I turned away after that. It brought back vivid memories," said
Theismann, hurt when hit by Lawrence Taylor during a Redskins' victory over the
New York Giants on Nov. 18, 1985.
"This date has always been a day in my life that I'll never forget," Theismann
said in a telephone interview.
"My immediate thought was that my heart went out to him. I feel so bad for him.
I know the road ahead. We're somewhat similar in age (when the injuries
happened). He's not 25 or 26 years of age. I was 35; he's 34. How long will it
take to come back? What is the severity?" Theismann added, saying he sent Smith
a text message of support. "I worry less about Alex and his football career
than I do Alex and wanting to be able to do the things in life he wants to do."
Smith was in his first season with the Redskins after arriving in a trade from
the Kansas City Chiefs. He had thrown two first-half interceptions Sunday, one
returned 101 yards for a TD by Texans safety Justin Reid, as Washington fell
McCoy helped Washington score a pair of TDs, including on his 9-yard touchdown
pass to tight end Jordan Reed on the backup QB's first pass in a regular-season
game since 2015.
Now Gruden will have a short week to help McCoy make his first NFL start since
2014: Washington (6-4) plays at Dallas (5-5) on Thanksgiving Day with first
place in the NFC East on the line.
"I've still got to knock a little rust off," said McCoy, who went 6 for 12 for
54 yards passing and ran five times for 35 yards after replacing Smith.
McCoy tried to lead the Redskins to the go-ahead points, but their last drive
stalled, and Dustin Hopkins tried a 63-yard field goal that fell well short.
The injury came when Smith was first hit by cornerback Kareem Jackson, then by
defensive end J.J. Watt. Before Smith was driven off the field, players from
both teams left the sidelines to offer well wishes. He waved to spectators as
he was taken away.
"We're all gutted for Alex," Watt said. "I feel absolutely terrible for him. It
sucks. It's the worst part of the game."
With Smith headed to injured reserve, McCoy is the only QB on Washington's
roster, so the team will need to find a backup somewhere. Gruden said he hoped
to have someone signed by Monday.
McCoy hasn't worked with the first-team offense for the past few years, but
Gruden said he still thinks his new starter at quarterback has a "great comfort
level, I believe."
"He hasn't played a whole lot. So we'll see how he does," Gruden said. "But I
have confidence in Colt. Always have."
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