Smith has, however, begun his testing for the novel coronavirus, a days-long process that requires players to have two negative test results separated by 72 hours before entering the team’s facilities.
Washington is set to begin training camp Tuesday, but it appears unlikely players will take to the field before the start of August because of testing protocols.
Smith, 36, was traded to Washington in 2018 and immediately signed a four-year, $94 million contract extension. In Week 11 of that season, Smith suffered the brutal injury on a third-quarter sack by Kareem Jackson and JJ Watt of the Houston Texans.
Smith underwent 17 surgeries on his right leg, and his recovery included visits to a military rehab center in San Antonio.
At the end of last season, Smith told reporters that his primary goal was to return for 2020.
“Without a doubt,” he said. “… Still [going] to continue to push this as far as it goes. I still have dreams of getting back to where I was and getting back out there. This has been obviously a crazy ride with a lot of unforeseen turns, but without a doubt that’s still my goal.”
When asked at the NFL combine in February if he expected Smith to participate in training camp, Coach Ron Rivera said, “We’ll see.
“He’s doing things he’s supposed to,” Rivera added. “And again, until the trainers tell me anything differently, I’m just anticipating he’ll be working out with them and getting himself ready, and we’ll see what happens.”
If Smith is cleared by team doctors, Washington could have a messy situation on its hands at quarterback. The team has essentially moved forward with 2019 first-round pick Dwayne Haskins as its presumed starter, though Rivera has stressed the need for competition at every position. Washington traded for Kyle Allen in March for reinforcement, but Smith’s potential availability could prompt a greater change to the room.
Smith’s contract carries a $21.4 million salary cap charge for 2020, the largest on the team. Should Washington release him, its 2020 cap will have a $32.2 million charge for Smith’s “dead money,” or money already guaranteed to him that will count against the team’s cap.
Read more on the NFL: