Smith, who suffered a broken fibula and tibia that led to 17 surgeries due to infections that nearly cost him his right leg, went 5-1 as a starter this season to help Washington make the playoffs.
“Two years ago, I was sitting in a wheelchair wondering, ‘Had the life I had known changed forever?'” Smith said in his acceptance speech. “Anger, pity, self-doubt, why me? These were feelings I had at certain points throughout my career, but this time, it wasn’t about football. It was bigger. It was about me being a father to play with my children, a husband to go on walks with my wife and, despite my new limitations, me getting my life back.
“My goal was football, not because I actually thought it was a reality, but because I knew my life would be better because of it. … It took 728 days, 728 days of small victories and major setbacks, of countless hours of physical therapy and just as many sleepless nights.”