While college sports are shut down, and I’m anticipating the other leagues to shut down like the PAC-12 and Big Ten, there is pro sports happening, and there were some headlines this week that had major impacts on a couple of former Utes.
First, Utah legend and former No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick Alex Smith was cleared to play and removed from the PUP list for the Washington football team this week. This is after almost two years of recovery from a leg injury that almost claimed his life. Smith suffered a devastating leg injury against the Houston Texas in his first season in Washington, and had to undergo numerous surgeries, and for a short while there was fear that not only his leg would need to be removed, but due to sepsis his life was on the line. The NFL was the further thing from many peoples mind over the last two years, but Alex is now one step closer to taking the field once again. With training camps underway, Alex will have a chance to win his old spot back, and he’ll not doubt have fans all over the place rooting for him, especially from Utah fans all over the world.
Another former Ute, this time on the basketball floor, made some news as well. Former Ute sharpshooter and current Utah Jazz assistant coach Johnnie Bryant was hired by the New York Knicks to be their associate head coach. Bryant has been instrumental in developing Gordon Hayward and Donovan Mitchell into all-stars, and has worked his way up the Jazz organization not long after graduating from Utah. Bryant is still such a young guy, and has head coach written all over him. I know it was great to see him coach for the Jazz and staying in SLC after his college career, so for me it’s bitter sweet for him to get this opportunity, but it’s a great move for him.
Let us also not forget a couple former Utes being major contributors on NBA Playoff teams right now, Kyle Kuzma with the Lakers and Delon Wright with the Mavericks.
So college sports, but still plenty of Utes to support.