The Washington Redskins asked for privacy for Alex Smith and his family amid reports the quarterback is dealing with complications from surgery to repair a broken leg.

In a statement released Thursday, the team says it appreciates concerns about Smith's injury that occurred Nov. 18 against Houston and that the 34-year-old and his family remain strong. A team spokesman declined to say whether Smith was still in the hospital more than two weeks after surgery to repair a broken right tibia and fibula.

Coach Jay Gruden said Nov. 19 he expected Smith to make a full recovery and be out six to eight months. NFL Network and Washington's FM-106.7 reported Thursday that Smith is still battling infection in his right leg and being tended to by doctors.

Man of Year nominees

Julius Peppers, Von Miller and Vernon Davis are among the 32 nominees announced for the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year award.

Unlike in the past, when three finalists were selected before a recipient was chosen, one player from every NFL team is a finalist. All will be recognized and participate in NFL functions during Super Bowl week. The Man of the Year will be revealed at NFL Honors, when The Associated Press' individual NFL awards are announced Feb. 2 in Atlanta.

The Man of the Year is honored for outstanding community service off the field as well as excellence on it. It was established in 1970 and renamed in 1999 for the Hall of Fame running back.

Lions fan to return ball

It's rare for an NFL offensive lineman to score a touchdown. It's just as unusual for a fan to catch a football with one hand while holding a $10 beer in the other.

Detroit Lions fan Bill Zerbst says he caught a football tossed into the seats last Sunday by Taylor Decker. The Greenville, Mich., man has agreed to return the ball to the Lions lineman after Decker made a public plea on Twitter.

Decker says it was his first touchdown in a football career that started in first grade.

Zerbst told The Daily News in Greenville that he got in touch with Decker. He'll only say he's trading up for an "awesome memory."