ASHBURN, Va. (ABC4 Sports) – In the nearly two years since suffering a horrific injury and multiple infections that nearly claimed his leg and even his life, former Utes quarterback Alex Smith said his goal was to just get back playing football, not necessarily become a starter.

“No, I guess I didn’t get that far,” Smith said. “For me, it was all about the challenge of getting out on the field. It’s been a long time just driving into work with that feeling knowing that the ball is in your hands. It’s certainly why I chased this coming back.”

Smith will make his first start since November 18, 2018 this Sunday when the Washington Football Team takes on the Detroit Lions this Sunday.

Smith has played as a backup in two games this year. Last week against the New York Giants, Smith threw for 325 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions after starter Kyle Allen went out with an injury.

But being a starter, like he was for 161 of his 168 career games spanning 14 seasons since leaving Utah as the number one overall draft pick om 2005, is different.

“You get the reps,” Smith said about being the starter. “The biggest thing a lot of times is two things. First, the visual of seeing the defensive looks out there. That’s big. And then the throws as well. Getting the reps, the speed with the guys, anticipating throws and things like that.”

Some fans say the 36-year-old shouldn’t be out there, that younger players like Dwayne Haskins should get a chance. To that, Smith says, he just wants to play.

“I get paid to play quarterback,” said Smith, who has thrown for 34,430 yards and 194 touchdowns in his career. “I feel like I’m ready to roll. I’m confident in that, and obviously, that’s coach’s decision to make. I’m not worried about anything else. I’m not worried about opinions here or there. I’m doing what I can to try to win a football game.”

A lot has obviously changed since Smith last started a game in 2018, but he’s embraced some of the differences, including how he deals with the media.

“This Zoom format, I’m not going to lie, is much easier than the face to face deal, and a little more organized,” Smith said. “It’s easier to mute you guys.”