Washington football player Alex Smith returns to the field

After suffering a gruesome leg injury that could have ended his career, the quarterback is back in action.
3:53 | 10/16/20

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Transcript for Washington football player Alex Smith returns to the field
We want to turn to that incredible NFL comeback story for Alex Smith returning to the field for the first time since suffering a devastating and severe leg injury that not only could have ended his days playing but also his life. Our will reeve sat down with the quarterback. Good morning, will. Reporter: Good morning, T.J. Just by touching the field last Sunday, Alex Smith all but locked up NFL comeback player of the year. His journey to get to that moment is a story of personal perseverance, family commitment and human triumph. Here comes pressure, Kareem gets imdown with J.J. Watt. A deep sack on Smith. Reporter: On November 18th, 2018, Alex Smith was sacked for the 410th time in his NFL career. I tell you what, Smith is hurting badly. Certainly felt something strange in my lower leg at that point and obviously to look down and see what it happened and I knew right away that I had broken my leg. Reporter: Smith's right leg was shattered. Spiral and compound fractures to his tibia and fib Ya sending him straight to surgery then things got worse. Getting home and the last thing I really remember there was obviously my temperature spiking before I went home and looking down at my leg once it was unwrapped and realizing that something was wrong. Reporter: A bacterial infection eating at his leg. His body entering septic shock. Smith's doctors were gravely concerned not only about his career but his life. How did that affect you psychologically. I had a lot of time to myself to sit and wonder if I'd ever be able to do those things that I took, you know, for granted for so long. If I'd ever go on a walk with my wife, a hike, play with my kids. You know, just everyday things. Reporter: Was that perhaps the darkest place you had been. Yeah, I mean I think without a doubt in my life that is certainly the hardest thing I've ever been faced with. It was going to be a long, long process to come back. Ready to get after it? Yeah. Let's come on up. Reporter: Smith's journey back began in San Antonio at the center for the intrepid. First throw since November 18th. Reporter: The military hospital specializing in limb recovery. I don't know if I'd be here without their involvement in this process, not only from the expertise and the science and care, but also from the motivation for me to be able to go down there and that was the first time that I ever thought about attempting to try and play football again. Reporter: 17 surgeries and a year of rehab later. Smith was cleared to play again. This video showing Alex and his family celebrating the news. There were so many ups and downs and complications along the way to finally get the green light from all the doctors in agreement that my leg was good to go. Yeah, it was very cool. Reporter: Grinding through self-doubt and riggers of an NFL training camp he earned a spot on the team as a backup. An improbable triumph itself. Then last Sunday his number was called. Is back out here to play quarterback in the national football league. A small moment there where I was like, here goes, this is it. I was ready. I was so thankful. We hadn't had any fans in our first couple home games and just progressed to family so I knew going, you know, obviously that they were going to be there and for me that's all that mattered. Alex's kids were there during the interview as well. His face lit up when they came into the room. He said the most important part of this journey is getting to be their dad. Details on the shirt for the organization he says helped save his leg and his life can be found on our website. T.J. All right, will, thank you so much. Guy, it gave me chills to see him run out onto the field. I remember when he got hurt. It was devastating? I love that message on the shirt, just live.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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