Alex Smith Released by Washington Football Team
Alex Smith had one of the most memorable comeback seasons of all time for the Washington Football Team in 2020, returning from a leg injury that could have taken away his career and life.
The former Pro Bowler didn’t suit up since 2018, but when he did, he helped lead the Burgundy and Gold to the playoffs, including an inspirational victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on the road in the season finale in a win-or-go-home scenario.
The team went 5-1 last season on the playoff push and Washington’s record was 11-5 with Smith in charge. However, all good things come to an end, as the team announced they released him on March 5.
“I had a chance to meet with Alex Smith this week, and we had a very honest and real discussion,” said Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera. “We had the chance to reflect on the 2020 season and talk about moving forward into next year. After the conclusion of that meeting, we decided that it would be best for both parties to move on, and we will be granting Alex his request to be released.
I want to thank Alex for his contributions this past year. He made such an impact on our young roster, and his leadership was one of the key factors in our late-season success and in making the playoffs for the first time since 2015. Everyone here in Washington wishes Alex and his family the best going forward and appreciates all that he gave to our organization.”
Smith has openly stated that he still wants to play in the league, and the release comes after Washington signed quarterback Taylor Heinicke on a two-year deal in February.
Bison’s Spectacular Season
Howard University’s women’s basketball team had a season to remember. The squad went 14-3, lost only one game at home, and dominated their conference (10-2) to earn the No. 1 seed in the MEAC women’s basketball tournament.
The Bison reeled off five consecutive wins to finish the season and did it with the support of some key contributors to their success. On March 5, the conference named Howard University Head Coach Ty Grace Coach of the Year, Jayla Thornton the MEAC Player of the Year and Anzhane’ Hutton Rookie of the Year.
Grace led a tight-knit unit that refused to lose with championship ambitions still intact. Thornton averaged 14.1 points per game, and her senior leadership surfaced in challenging moments throughout the season while Hutton led the team in rebounds and blocks as a defensive specialist.
Howard looks to keep the winning momentum going as they take on the winner of No. 2 Norfolk State/No. 3 Coppin State during the quarterfinal match in the 2021 Air Force Reserve MEAC Basketball Tournament. The tourney begins on March 11 and runs through Saturday, March 13, at the Scope Arena in Norfolk, Va.
“It’s great! It’s great! I am proud of these kids,” said Grace after winning the season finale over Delaware State. “They have been resilient, they stuck through, it’s been a wild season, and I am just happy they get to see this type of success, and I am happy for the team.”
Nationals Heat Up
The Washington Nationals won two of their last five games during spring training play (as of March 7) after stringing together a pair of consecutive victories against the St. Louis Cardinals on March 6 and the Miami Marlins the following day.
Nationals ace Max Scherzer made his first start of the year but struggled in one and two-thirds innings, allowing a hit, two earned runs, two walks, but also fanned two batters as well. Nationals pitcher Steven Fuentes earned his first win of the season, striking out a batter in one inning of work.
“I am more worried about my arm than actually my ankle,” said Scherzer, who is recovering from injury. “Just trying to get a feel for what I do. From here, it’s just ramping up … I kind of like where I’m at right now.”
Washington jumped out front early on when Nationals catcher Alex Avila stroked a three-run home run to get the party started. After Scherzer surrendered two runs in the second, both teams traded runs in the third when Cardinals catcher Andrew Knizer hit an RBI single in the top of the third and Nationals infielder Josh Bell hit an RBI double to tie the game 3-3.
The Cardinals scored two more runs in the sixth, but the Nationals got back into the swing of things in the seventh when outfielder Yadiel Hernandez hit an RBI single to take the first lead of the game.
The contest came down to the wire in the ninth when Cardinals infielder Max Moroff hit a sacrifice fly to score outfielder Austin Dean, but it was Nationals infielder Luis Garcia who won the game with a walk-off run after Cardinals catcher Ali Sanchez committed a throwing error to win 7-6.
Washington then took down Miami 5-3 with Washington Nationals pitcher Daniel Hudson winning his first game of the year despite allowing a two-run homer in the third.
Nationals pitcher Yan Gomes hit an RBI single first, and outfielder Andrew Stevenson drove in Ryan Zimmerman (DH) to go up by two. Miami infielder Jesus Aguilar hit an RBI single to split the difference in the bottom of the first inning, but the Marlins were held scoreless the rest of the way. Washington tacked on three more insurance runs to cruise to victory.