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Redskins’ Alex Smith explains why he carries giant rocks on the ocean floor

Alex Smith smiles during Thursday’s introductory news conference. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Alex Smith is looking forward to getting to know and working with his new receivers, but don’t expect the Redskins quarterback to invite Josh Doctson and friends to run routes on a high school field over the weekend and then document the session on social media.

“I think a lot of that stuff looks great on TV; it’s great for Instagram followers,” Smith said at his introductory news conference Thursday, when asked whether he plans to get together with his teammates before organized team activities. “To be honest, at this point, we’re limited with what we can get our hands on scheme-wise, and there’s all these rules and stuff. It would be great to come together and … go out on the field and throw it around, but I think we’d all like to have coaches there, and I think we’d be better off with that.”

Smith doesn’t concern himself with Instagram followers because he doesn’t have a social media presence, but his wife, Elizabeth, posted photos on Twitter before training camp in 2016 of the former Chiefs quarterback doing a couple of unorthodox exercises while vacationing in Hawaii. One image, which would be great for Smith’s Instagram followers if he had an account, shows him wearing a snorkel mask and running on the ocean floor while carrying a large rock.

During Smith’s interview with The Team 980 on Thursday, host Steve Czaban asked the 33-year-old quarterback about his hypoxic training exercise, which is popular among surfers, divers and NBA guard Kyle Korver.

“That’s just a challenge,” Smith said. “I don’t think there’s a specific benefit to football, as far as on the field, other than it’s a mental challenge. We’ll do it after a workout. We’ll go out and do it in the ocean. It’s kind of a mental thing, right? Because you get in the water and you go down and grab this rock and you’re like 10, 12 feet deep. I mean, everything in your brain, survival mode, is like, ‘Drop the rock and get up. Go find air again.’ A little bit of it is kind of like, ‘How far can you keep going down there? Do you got the guts to take another step?’ It’s more of a mental exercise than anything else. It’s just kind of fun. It’s different.”

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It also wasn’t the first time Smith risked blacking out at the bottom of the ocean for fun.

“I’ve done forms of that over the last five years,” Smith told reporters after reporting to Chiefs training camp in 2016. “This was probably the most consistent I’ve done something like that and this regularly over the whole month of July. It’s just something fun and a chance for us to get out there to Hawaii for a few weeks.”

If they’ve seen the photo, Smith’s new receivers might be happy to hear that he doesn’t put much stock in group workout sessions away from the team facility.

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