Watching Alex Smith‘s horrific leg injury brought back nightmares for Joe Theismann, who was in the stadium when it happened last fall.
Theismann’s career came to an end in 1985 when Lawrence Taylor snapped his leg.
The former Washington quarterback said it took him 20 years to watch the play. He hoped to never see it again.
“As soon as [Smith’s injury] happened, they happened to have a camera angle from behind,” Theismann said on Ian Rapoport’s podcast this week. “Now, it took me 20 years to see mine, but then all of a sudden with Alex, I saw this camera angle from behind him, and I looked at it, and I turned to [my wife] Robin and said, ‘That’s exactly like mine.'”
Smith, 35, recently shed an external fixator on his right leg that promoted healing in the bones. Still, he faces an arduous journey ever to get back on the field.
Theismann and Smith have had conversations about the injury, the rehab and the future.
“The problem is going to be the healing process,” Theismann said on the podcast. “How long does it take? My advice to him would be: Let’s see how you feel one year from now. I think he wants to [play again]; I know it; but I’d say it’s going be a long road.”
Besides the compound and spiral fractures, Smith also had a post-surgical infection that added complications to an already serious injury.
“He came very, very close to losing his leg. Fortunately, he still has it,” Theismann said.
Smith’s future remains uncertain, but Theismann is rooting for Smith to realize his dream of playing again.