ASHBURN (WAVY) – Should starting quarterback Alex Smith or backup Dwayne Haskins be unable to play due to COVID-19 protocols, the man who will suit up for the Washington Football team is Taylor Heinicke.
The all-time leading passer in Old Dominion University history now has another distinction…”quarantine quarterback.”
“It’s weird, obviously,” Heinicke told the Sportswrap’s Nathan Epstein on Wednesday. “But I’d rather be quarantine quarterback than at home.”
Heinicke has been away from the NFL for more than a year. His last action on the field was during the 2019 preseason, when he played for the Carolina Panthers. Heinicke last played in a regular season game when he started the Panthers’ week 16 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons.
Heinicke is now re-united with Washington offensive coordinator Scott Turner. “He’s the one who believed in me when no one else did,” said Heinicke, who played for Turner in Minnesota and Carolina.
“He brought me in, I had a great first two-three years, and ever since then we’ve kind of bounced around wherever he goes.”
Should Smith and Haskins not be able to play, Washington will have a quarterback well-versed in Turner’s system. “It’s huge,” said Heinicke. “It’s always nice going into an offense where you already know what he’s looking for, the language.”
Maybe most important, Heinicke will get a chance to learn from Alex Smith, who’s comeback story has become one of the great inspirations around the league. “As a kid if I had an NFL quarterback dad who—I’m almost getting teared up talking about it—who almost lost his leg and life, and to see him run back on the field two years later and start an NFL game, that’s awesome,” said Heinicke.
“That would give me any inspiration and drive to do whatever I wanted to do in my life as a kid.”