Ex-Falcons HC picks Russell Wilson to win NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award over Damar Hamlin (EXCLUSIVE)

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Former Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith has backed Russell Wilson to pip Damar Hamlin to the Comeback Player of the Year in the 2023 NFL season.

The Bills player is the sentimental favorite for the award after collapsing last season on the field against the Cincinnati Bengals. He has since made a miraculous recovery thanks to his own willpower and tremendous support from all medical and ancillary professionals.

But the winningest coach in Atlanta Falcons’ history knows something about football and picked a different candidate. He highlighted how Russell Wilson had a down year last season as the Denver Broncos finished bottom of the AFC West.

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But now, he has a change of scenario with a new coach coming in. Sean Payton is expected to revitalize the franchise and get them to winning ways.

Speaking exclusively to Sportskeeda’s ‘The BallFather Podcast’, Coach Smith said:

He acknowledged that Payton has a different type of coaching philosophy than Pete Carroll, but said that if the Broncos are winning, their quarterback will be in with a shout:

Damar Hamlin is still the favorite

Based on his experience as a coach, it is unsurprising that Mike Smith picked a quarterback to be the Comeback Player of the Year. After all, Russell Wilson’s own replacement with the Seattle Seahawks, Geno Smith, won the award last season.

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But if Damar Hamlin plays a full season, it would be hard to deprive him of it based on sentiment alone. He has returned to practice and is expected to play for the Bills this season as they try to capture the elusive Super Bowl.

Mike Smith betting on Sean Payton to straighten up Russell Wilson

One of the big criticisms against Russell Wilson last season was not only his performances but the fact that he had a separate office to the rest of the team. Smith believes that will go away under Sean Payton and actually benefit the quarterback.

With an improved mindset, Smith believes that the Broncos QB will be the most improved player from last season.

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