QB's Gruesome Injury Came Exactly 33 Years After a Famous One

Joe Theismann saw Alex Smith's leg snap
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2018 4:06 AM CST
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Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith (11) is helped onto a cart after injuring his leg during an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Landover, Md.   (AP Photo/Mark Tenally)
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(Newser) – Former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann was horrified when current Redskins quarterback Alex Smith broke his leg in Sunday's 23-21 loss against the Houston Texans—especially when he realized it was 33 years to the day since he suffered the same gruesome injury. Theismann was watching from a suite at FedEx Field as Smith broke his right tibia and fibula on a sack from Kareem Jackson in the third quarter. "I still have goosebumps," Theismann, whose leg snapped in a similar fashion after a sack from Lawrence Taylor in 1985, tells the Washington Post. "I can't believe it. November 18th is such a horrible day for Redskins quarterbacks."

"I turned away," Theismann says. "And I wouldn't watch the replay. It felt as if 1985 was yesterday. I had a sick feeling in my stomach and felt so bad for Alex." He says he sent the quarterback a text: "I'm so sorry." Smith's leg turned the wrong way after being caught in the turf, but the tackle didn't break any rules. The 34-year-old is out for the season and will require surgery. Theismann was 35 when he broke his leg, and he never played again. He tells the New York Times that he hopes Smith's injury won't be equally career-ending. "The medical technology and the surgical methods are more advanced than in 1985," Theismann says. "So I’m hoping Alex will battle back soon and that there’s no ligament or tendon damage." (This NFL player decide to retire in the middle of the game.)

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