Alex Smith may never play football again. That is something the Washington Redskins' quarterback and former Kansas City Chief has certainly been told more than once. The broken leg he suffered last season is one of the most severe that has ever occurred in the NFL. There's a reason Joe Namath is the name that comes to people's minds the most when they start discussing Smith.

Namath suffered a brutal leg break late in his career and never really came close to setting foot on the field again. If Smith is going to overcome the prognosis most experts have given him, he's going to need almost everything to go exactly right from here on out.

The quarterback took a big step in that direction earlier this week when he had the external fixator removed from his broken leg.

Washington Redskins quarterback on the road to recovery

The external fixator was removed a full eight months after the surgery that was the first step in his recovery. The procedure, which involves removing pins that have been inserted into his leg in order to keep the fixator in place, was announced by Smith's wife on Instagram.

The made the announcement alongside a photo of herself and her husband together. It's clear the procedure must have just happened as Alex is still in hospital garb.

"The last 8 months have been nothing short of crazy. Although it’s not over, today is a big milestone.

We are shedding the weight Alex has been carrying (literally and figuratively). It’s one step closer to the goal. The resilience, determination and mental fortitude of this man is unmatched." Liz Smith posted.

Long road ahead for former Kansas City Chiefs star

To be sure, this procedure is just the first step. This isn't a situation where now that the Redskins' quarterback has the device removed, he can get back to playing football anytime soon.

It's a safe bet he'll have to figure out how to walk without the support that device was giving him.

Then, of course, there is the long weeks and months of rehab building his strength back up. Because Smith has made it clear he's not ready to stop playing football just yet, it's a safe bet that he's been working out in some regard over the last eight months.

There's still no way to really know how long it could be before he's cleared to even do football workouts.

When he might be cleared to return to the Washington Redskins? That's anybody's guess. There are still plenty of people out there who think his career is still over. What is clear is that the former Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers and current Washington Redskins signal-caller has plenty of people who are rooting for him to get back on the football field if that is still what he wants to do.