Ron Rivera reveals what Alex Smith must prove to play football again for the Washington Redskins

NFL Week 15: Seahawks-Washington
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith wants to return to the gridiron. After the harrowing injury and recovery he went through, that’s remarkable.

On Tuesday, Washington head coach Ron Rivera opened up about what Smith must do to achieve his goal.

Rivera: Alex Smith must ‘be able to protect himself’

During an appearance with Mike Tirico of NBC Sports on Lunch Talk Live, Rivera shared the key to Smith’s potential return.

“The one thing that he and I talked about, more than anything else, is he’s got to be able to protect himself out on the football field before anything can happen, before we can allow him back on the field,” Rivera said (h/t NBC Sports Washington).

Smith nearly lost his leg and underwent a brutal series of surgeries to ultimately save it. He missed the entire 2019 campaign and only recently started looking healthy enough to potentially play once again.

Rivera said that he hopes to find out soon if Smith has recovered enough to compete: “We’ll see. You just never know,” Rivera said. “We’ll find out hopefully sometime in late August.”

Previously, Rivera had made it clear he isn’t ruling Smith out as a potential starter in 2020. Clearly, he has Smith’s personal safety in the forefront of his mind before any football-related decision will be made.