Former NFL Physician Believes Washington Will Start Dwayne Haskins Over Alex Smith Going Forward

Alex Smith of the Washington Football Team scrambles against the Los Angeles Rams.
Greg Fiume / Getty Images

Dr. David Chao, who formerly worked as a physician for the San Diego Chargers, expressed his belief on Tuesday that Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith won’t be starting against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Moreover, he indicated that second-year man Dwayne Haskins should be the starter “moving forward.”

Chao offered his assessment of the situation in a video posted on OutKick‘s YouTube channel.

Smith, whose seemingly miraculous comeback story has been oft-discussed by football fans and pundits alike this season, was forced out of his team’s 23-15 win over the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday. After exiting the contest in the first half, he was ultimately ruled out with what was eventually deemed to be a right calf strain. Haskins returned to action in his stead.

The three-time Pro Bowler and former No. 1 overall pick had started for his team in five straight games after entering the 2020 campaign as the third-string QB. His return to the field in any capacity was once considered an impossibility after he suffered a gruesome compound fracture in his right leg during a November 2018 game against the Houston Texans.

Smith went on to contract a life-threatening infection and would undergo 17 surgeries over a period of nine months. At one juncture, his doctors considered amputation as a solution before performing skin grafts and transferring muscle from his left quadriceps to save the leg. Nevertheless, the 36-year-old was able to recover to the point that he remained on the roster and, eventually, reclaimed the starting job after two years on the sidelines.

Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith waves after an October 2020 game against the Dallas Cowboys
  Scott Taetsch / Getty Images

It’s that history and the fact that Smith lost significant musculature as a result of his ordeal that led Chao to believe Washington has been forced to move on.

“[Head coach] Ron Rivera and company did him a solid because Alex Smith would have probably stayed in the game… Because of that, I don’t think the calf strain is going to get better that quickly, partly because he’s already lost part of his calf. I think it’s likely that it’s Dwayne Haskins this next week,” he said.

“I’ve got to lean towards it’s going to be Dwayne Haskins moving forward.”

As relayed via his Twitter account, NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero indicated that Washington is “optimistic” that Smith will be ready to go for the game. However, Smith was not a physical participant during practice on Wednesday, according to NBC Sports.

Still, Rivera did tell reporters that Smith would not have to practice in order to play because he’s a “smart football player.”