Redskins QB Alex Smith working out in birthday video

Whether Alex Smith plays in the NFL again, he’s already come back. From 17 surgeries. From nearly losing his right leg. From nearly losing his life.

Last week, his 18-month journey through a compound fracture, infection and a grueling rehab were the focus of a moving ESPN documentary — "Project 11." Thursday marked another milestone for the veteran quarterback, as he turned 36 years old.

His wife, Elizabeth, commemorated the occasion with an Instagram story showing Smith shuffling between cones, running bootlegs and throwing downfield.

"I am in awe of his perseverance everyday," his wife wrote in the caption. "He just keeps getting stronger and refuses to give up…"

That’s been Smith’s story since he entered the league in 2005. He played for five different offensive coordinators in his first five years, missing an entire season because of a shoulder injury in the process. The former No. 1 overall pick was in the midst of a career-year in 2012, on the heels of helping lead San Francisco to the NFC title game that January, when a concussion forced him to the sideline and opened the door for Colin Kaepernick to take his job. He would attempt just one more pass for the 49ers.

Dealt to Kansas City, Smith continued improving under Andy Reid and made three Pro Bowl teams. But the Chiefs’ lack of playoff success prompted their pursuit of Patrick Mahomes, with Smith eventually being traded to Washington in 2018.

The Redskins led the NFC East when Smith went down that November, after being sacked by the Houston Texans. A year and a half later, he remains on their roster.

But more so an inspiration.

Happy Happy Birthday to this handsome, hard working man❤️ The last week we’ve been overwhelmed with love,support and sweet messages. We cannot thank you enough. #project11 was a look into what the last 18 months have been (mostly Alex refusing to give up). I am in awe of his perseverance everyday. He just keeps getting stronger and refuses to give up… Forever grateful��

A post shared by Elizabeth Smith (@lizbsmith11) on

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