Project 11: ESPN ‘documentary’ delivers sanguinary look into Alex Smith’s injury

Alex Smith’s wife Elizabeth recalls trauma/

Project 11 gives ‘bloody’ insight. 

Blog King, Mass Appeal

LANDOVER, Md — Alex Smith’s ESPN documentary “Project 11” delivers an insightful, albeit horrifying glimpse into the devastating leg injury that damn near took his life. Smith, quarterback of the Washington Redskins, suffered a compound fracture in his right tibia and right fibula during a November 2018 matchup with the Houston Texans. J.J. Watt made the tackle. Smith was carted off the field with a mutilated limb that became ravaged with black blisters, dead skin and torn muscle tissue.

It’s one of the most disturbing things you’ll ever see.

Doctors contemplated amputation and prosthesis prior to performing 13 surgeries. Named after Smith’s jersey number, the one-hour E:60 special chronicles his trauma and recovery as he pursues an improbable return to the NFL. Gridiron be damned, it’s certainly in Smith’s best interest to call it quits.

After all, the University of Utah alum has a hot wife , beautiful children and he’s garnered boatloads of remuneration playing the game he loves. At 35-years-old, it makes little sense for Smith to risk another injury. Besides, the former No. 1 draft pick would make one helluva coach.

Not convinced?

Ask the Super Bowl MVP.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes credits Smith’s tutelage and stoicism for his métier as being the NFL’s best signal-caller. They were teammates his rookie season. “I attribute a lot of my early success to Alex,” Mahomes, 24, told reporters prior to Super Bowl LIV.

“The way he was able to be a pro every single day and the way he was able to go about not only being a great football player but a great human being. It showed me a ton. I learned a lot about how to read coverages and blitzes from him. He gave me a blueprint of how to [prepare]. It showed me how to have success at an early point in my career that I don’t think I would have gotten anywhere else.”

At one point, Smith’s wife — Elizabeth — begged an orthopedic surgeon to cut off his leg.

Do you think it’s time for Smith to retire?

Watch “Project 11” in its entirety.

Share your thoughts.


  1. I broke my leg in 2 places just over a year ago, this brought back so many memories. After watching this, I was lucky. It had me in tears through most of it.

  2. That dude is a man. I also liked how his wife lets him be him…at least that is the way she came across to me.

  3. Sending lots of love to you Alex. I had no idea your injury was this bad. Keep up the good fight.

  4. I really hope and pray he returns and leads the redskins to the promise land and wins a ring! What a story that will be…man deserves it!

  5. Such a great guy and a hard worker. He’s been unappreciated throughout his career, but this documentary will help people notice his legacy. No one can hate him.

  6. When he takes his snap again in the NFL even if its just a kneel down I’m gonna tear up for him.

  7. What a warrior…….
    Man, I LOVE to see gruesome images like this, I wish there was more graphic shots. Like if they couldve shown the doctors removing the rotting flesh and muscle.
    Oh well….
    I wish alex nothing but the best….

  8. I know that allot of people are always going to say negative things about him. But how many people will be able to go through this and do it for his family. God Bless him and his family.

  9. his career is over

  10. Maaaan. I never knew he went through all THAT. Sweet Lord. That was unbelievable (and warning or not, I seriously wasn’t ready for the level of gore so freely displayed). That was so hardcore. So happy Alex (and his fam) made it through.

  11. Dude leg looked like the human flesh diagram

  12. Wow… Just fuckin wow!

  13. RESPECT! What an inspiration!

  14. The poor man went through a perfect hell

  15. He’ll be back. He’s got something to prove

  16. incredible. appreciate what you have now cause jj watt can take it away in two seconds. i hope to see alex on the field soon 🦅🦅

  17. I remember when my chiefs signed him, and it was like a breath of fresh air after 10 years of bad QBs since Trent Greene left. I was so upset when he left to the Redskins

  18. real struggle would be if he had to pay those medical bills… just saying

  19. Fucking. Iron. Man.

    Alex Smith is an astonishing inspiration.

  20. 1maddd2mackxxck 1baaadmackxxx


  21. Cornbread, Earl & Me

    @1maddd2mackxxck 1baaadmackxxx: but bridgewater was in his early 20s when he got hurt…. smith is 35.

  22. Man that was brutal to watch and also great to watch. Imagine going home after a surgery that they just fixed your leg only to get the worse infection ever and being septic on top OMG. Alex is a true soldier and I hope he can play this year as long as this COVID19 bull crap ends. Go get em Alex I’m rooting for you. I’ve always liked Alex. He’s a good QB and as long he has people to block for him he’ll be alright. I’m that play where he got hurt. One player came in untouched and the other guy just let J.J. Watt go right by him with the worse block I’ve ever seen. I think couple of his offensive line men need to apologize to him. Can’t wait to see him play again. Good luck Alex.

  23. Wow… I’m lost for words. Just wow what an amazing story.

  24. I’m a Chiefs fan and I always liked Alex Smith. He wasn’t overly talented but he was rock solid. I wish him a speedy recovery but I honestly hope he just collects the rest of his contract and never plays again.

  25. mark stevenson

    After seeing this I didn’t realized just how close Alex came to dying, seeing all those images of his leg
    was hard to watch, those doctors did an amazing job saving his leg and his life. I am glade he made it and didn’t loose his leg, I didn’t know about all he has been through in his NFL career. If anyone deserves a come back he does he earned my respect and I hope he does return and plays again, if not with the Redskins then with another team that could use a good Quarterback. This was very inspirational, Good
    luck Alex my prayers are with you.

  26. phillip christ

    From Kansas City: come to us. You are loved. Be our qb coach and win some more rings. Good men deserve good things.

  27. Truly horrific. Bless this man, I’ve always been a fan and will continue to be. I can’t imagine going through this. So much respect for Alex

  28. Major major respect for Alex. I know his football career might be done but it would be cool to see him as a coach.

  29. Unreal. Keep it up Alex and the Smith family!

  30. If this guy makes it back to the league there is not a doubt in my mind he will win a super bowl

  31. Nick Cosellian

    I always considered Alex an above average NFL Quarterback, but a Hall of Fame man.

  32. Holly crap I had no idea his injury was so awful. Best of luck for him.

  33. that’s what happens when you play for the redskins

    alex shouldve stayed with the chiefs as a coach

  34. Alex Smith was a great QB. He just went to the most injury prone team in the NFL for QBs. Glad he recovered, I never knew how serious the injury was.

  35. Christopher Columbus 2K

    what did u expect????? redskins suck ass

  36. Look at the doofus fellow KC fans on here: forgot how BAD the KC O-line was most of Alex’s years in KC, and a bad, ageing defense. Been watching KC x 30yrs, we cannot have a great O snd great D at the same time, just like Trent Green era KC (TGonzalez, Priest Holmes, Dante Hall), a Superbowl caliber offense, always lose a shootout in the playoffs, because bad D.

    Mahomes FINALLY got an A-rated O-line this year, when they were healthy! In October when 3rd string LT and 2nd string LG in place for injured starters, Mahomes running for his life, just like Alex was, no time in pocket, and Mahomes hurt his ankle.

    I expect better out of KC fans, you know there’s 3 phases to this game. I remember Alex’s last 2 playoff losses, he’s NOT the reason we lost those games. Check his stats. Thank the gods that Alex taught Mahomes how to read NFL defenses, as Mahomes said a few weeks ago, giving credit where its due. Big respect for everything Alex did for KC! I wish him the best

  37. I had this same injury and now I have a titanium rod in my lower left leg tibia bone

  38. He deserves an honorary super bowl ring for everything he did for the chiefs

  39. Alex Smith was largely responsible for turning the Chiefs around. He doesn’t get nearly enough credit

  40. I would just like to point out that this dude was completing 70% of his passes with a 104.1 rating in 2012 before being benched.
    Then completed 67.5% of his passes with a 104.7 rating in 2017 before being traded.

  41. Hope he comes back and wins a superbowl

  42. Love this man. I loved when he took the job in KC and still followed him when he left to Washington. Im glad this man is recovering. He is an inspiration for everyone.

  43. Nathan Peoples

    I believe Alex Smith would make a fantastic coach in the NFL. He’s got a great mind for football.

  44. His wife is a SMOKESHOW

  45. Steve Middaugh

    Chiefs Kingdom will always have a lot of love and respect for Alex Smith. He is a true professional! Wish that man only the best!

  46. Can’t wait to see him take another garbage team to the playoffs, and hopefully a SB win!

  47. And to think. That picture of his black leg was NOTHING compared to how bad it got. If you are overly squeamish DO NOT see the entire episode. You will not believe how bad his leg got. I have yet to see a horror movie of how bad someone’s leg can get and still survive.

  48. AS11! Kansas City loves you!

  49. One thing is for sure. Alex Smith will be playing in the NFL before Kaepernick does

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