Alex Smith hopeful Dwayne Haskins can eliminate distractions

If Dwayne Haskins is going to become a successful NFL quarterback, Alex Smith says he needs to eliminate the distractions keeping him from reaching his potential on the field.

In an interview with Charles Robinson and Terez Paylor of Yahoo Sports, Smith said his former Washington teammate is “crazy talented” but needed to cut out the stuff outside the game that is limiting his potential within it.

“The first thing I hope with Dwayne — and I’ve told him this — is you don’t have a chance until you’ve eliminated a lot of the distractions going on in your life,” Smith said, via Ethan Cadeaux of NBC Sports Washington. “It’s hard as a young player, as a young draft pick, certainly as a quarterback thrust with a lot of weight and expectations.”

Haskins flamed out with Washington prior to the end of his second season with the team. A first-round pick in 2019, Haskins drew criticism for his preparation and twice violated procedures related to COVID-19 this season. The second violation, which came with Haskins throwing a party for his girlfriend after a loss to the Seattle Seahawks when he’d made his first start in over two months, was ultimately the final straw for his time in Washington.

Haskins signed a one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday.

Smith hopes that Haskins can do what he needs to in order to correctly focus on the game and the obligations of the quarterback position so that he can find a way to salvage his career.

“You’ve got a lot of voices telling you different things. In the end, this all comes down to playing well on the football field,” Smith said.

“You have to be able to eliminate all that other stuff, because none of that matters if you can’t go out there and play at a high level,” he continued. “You’ll never be able to develop into the player, into your potential if you don’t eliminate all that stuff as well. So my hope for Dwayne is to do that.”