Washington Football Team veteran Alex Smith said he is excited and feels like a teenager again after being activated off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list having almost lost his life following an horrific leg injury in 2018.
Smith developed life-threatening sepsis and required 17 surgeries to prevent his leg from being amputated after the NFL quarterback suffered a compound fracture of his tibia and fibula two years ago.
However, the 36-year-old and three-time Pro Bowler was cleared for football activity on Sunday, capping a remarkable recovery.
"In the football world, I'm a dinosaur," Smith told ESPN. "But I felt like a 16-year-old again. The nerves, the feeling of excitement, obviously anxiety.
"All that stuff of being alive, the range of emotions of going out there with your team-mates. That's why you play. It felt good to get those nerves going again."
Smith, who went down in November 2018, led Washington to a 6-3 record in 2018, completing 205 of 328 passes for 2,180 yards, 10 touchdown and five interceptions before being sidelined.
"I know a lot of people probably think it's funny that I'm even pursuing this," Smith added. "I really feel like I need to see where this ends. I need to, I need to see what my limitations are, what I'm capable of.
"I really feel like I've been faced with this giant challenge in life. I can't help it. I think that my three little kids see everything that I do. And for me, just kind of continuing to push this and see where it goes, you know, and, and no expectations."
"There are steps," Smith continued. "This isn't something where you just immediately run out there. The next one is to get into team drills and, and obviously see if you can go out there and defend yourself, see if I can go out there and move around.
"Can I adapt? Can I go out there and play football at this level? It's something that will reveal itself."
Washington, meanwhile, made an historic appointment after Jason Wright became the first African-American team president in NFL history on Monday.
Former San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals running back Wright, 38, will oversee the business aspects of the team, while head coach Ron Rivera will maintain control over all on-field footballing decisions.
"From football to business school to McKinsey, I have always enjoyed building exciting new things and taking on the hard, seemingly intractable challenges that others may not want to tackle. I especially love doing this with organisations who have deep history and values that set a firm foundation. This team, at this time, is an ideal opportunity for me," Wright said in a statement.
"The transformation of the Washington Football Team is happening across all aspects of the organisation – from football to operations to branding to culture – and will make us a truly modern and aspirational franchise. We want to set new standards for the NFL.
"As a DMV local and fan, I've been watching this team with interest long before I knew I could become part of it. I believe in Dan Snyder's vision for this organization, and I am looking forward to partnering with coach Rivera, who is a champion for the players and one of the great minds in football. Together, we will define the future of the Washington Football Team."