Portis On Mike Sellers In Hawaii and “The Worst Coach In America”

Photo by Ned Dishman

Photo by Ned Dishman

After his relatively quiet radio show yesterday, newly-minted Pro Bowler Clinton Portis came to the media session at Redskins Park today a little bit jauntier, a little more ready to banter, and with two football cards taped to his chest. The media, no pack of dummies, immediately focused in on the cards, one of which featured Eric Dickerson, the other Barry Sanders.

“Me and [Chris] Cooley was just playing Pack Wars,” Portis said, “and I won these two cards off of him. So I figured I fall somewhere in between these two guys. And if I don’t, these are the two guys I’m shooting to fall between, so … I think it’s pretty nice company.”

(I’m told that more on this epic pack wars contest will show up on Cooley’s blog in the not-too-distant future.)

First-time Pro Bowler Mike Sellers came down the steps behind Portis and said, “They all had good fullbacks, too.”
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Wednesday, December 17: Talking About Practice


Wednesday, as always, marks the restarting of the football portion of the week. The players are back in the building and the team is getting ready for Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles. This means things like meetings, film study, and, of course, practice. At some point after this afternoon’s practice, I’ll post my thoughts on what I’ve seen and — if today is like most other days — someone will ask why, if the team looks so good in practice, they’ve looked so very drab in the games. I haven’t yet been able to answer this question to my own satisfaction, let alone yours, but at least I can take comfort in knowing it’s not just me.

Clinton Portis‘s radio appearance yesterday on ESPN980 wasn’t nearly as provocative as last week’s, but there was one answer that I found particularly interesting. Toward the end of the segment, Brian Mitchell asked Portis exactly why a quality practice might not translate to the game. Here’s his answer.
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Peter King Looks At The Bright Side


Not a lot favorable to take away from yesterday’s game, obviously. Any individual achievements tended to be immediately marred by dumb penalties (Santana Moss) or overturned by replay (Mike Sellers). I suppose Ryan Plackemeier had a fairly good game, which is nice, and Rock Cartwright acquitted himself well. I liked seeing Kareem Moore lay out Chad Ocho Seenco, I guess.

On the whole, though, it was the kind of day where I don’t think I would’ve, say, encouraged people to vote Redskins players into the Pro Bowl.

Peter King, however, apparently has no such qualms. Buried in the “10 Things I Think I Think” segment of his Monday Morning Quarterback column is this bizarre observation:

I think Clinton Portis is going to be in front of us one day for Hall of Fame consideration. Two games shy of seven full seasons, and he’s already past 9,000 yards. He’s 27 years old. Can he muster 4,000 more yards? I’d think he will. If so, he’ll be in Eric Dickerson territory.

Portis is an excellent running back, no doubt. A blurb like this might have made some kind of sense when he was being discussed as a potential MVP candidate earlier in the season, or at least after a particularly strong game. But yesterday he rushed 25 times for 77 yards — a 3.1 yards per carry average — and that came on the heels of a week in which he got involved in that awkwardness with his head coach, no less.

Still, if you’ve been searching around for some positive Redskins news on this bleak day, there you go: Peter King thinks Portis has at least an outside shot at eventual Hall of Fame consideration. Yay.

Clinton Portis On Clinton Portis On Jim Zorn

Clinton Portis talked to the media after practice today, and it was the low-key, football-focused affair that I’m sure you would expect.


The questions came from various members of the local media, and it’s impossible to determine from my recording who asked what. So all the questions are reduced to the “On…” format. It’s popular among professional sports teams anyhow, near as I can tell — it’s what they use when they hand out quote sheets to the media — so it’s appropriate enough here. These do represent, however, the entire text of Portis’ side of the conversation.

On his meeting with Head Coach Jim Zorn:

“It was a meeting between me and Coach Zorn. I had my best day of practice today, my brother.”

On if he feels today like he felt yesterday on the radio:

“I feel like we’ve gotta find a way to go and beat the Cincinnati Bengals. That’s what we’re gonna do.”

On if he felt the need to apologize to Coach Zorn:

“What me and Coach Zorn talked about was between me and Coach Zorn, so…”

On if he’s cool with how it is right now:

“I’m cool with everything.”

On Shawn Springs suddenly jumping on him from behind, saying, “You’re my favorite teammate!”:

“You’re my boy, Blue!”
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Open Locker Room on Portis and Zorn

If I had to characterize the response of players at open locker room to Clinton Portis Radio Funtime, I’d say there were two basic answers. One used the word “accountability” a lot, and the other was a some variation on “What did Clinton say, exactly?”. The first offensive starter to show his face in the locker room was Antwaan Randle El, which led to this intimate scene:


“It happens,” Randle El said. “It’s part of the league, you know? You get a guy, you get a coach, flip a coin. It’s going to happen. And when it happens, you just hope they get it taken care of, and I know they got it taken care of.”

Asked what kind of distraction it would present, Randle El was blunt. “It won’t be one. We have too many leaders on the team, from Z-man’s standpoint he’s not going to allow the distraction, and Clinton — Clinton understands how important it is for us to get focused for this week.”

Convinced by Randle El’s persuasive words, the assembled media pack dropped the subject and started asking questions about Cincinnati starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Okay, not really — the questions about PortisGate kept right on rolling.
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The Portis/Zorn Radio Apocalypse!!!!!!! (Kind Of)

Photo by Ned Dishman

Photo by Ned Dishman

As I was driving back to Redskins Park from Antwaan Randle El‘s charity event today, I was listening to Clinton Portis‘s appearance on the John Thompson Show on ESPN980. Portis was clearly frustrated — with the team’s losing, with being benched (or “benched,” depending on who you ask), with his head coach — and he wasn’t hiding it.

I was surprised at his candor, but — as the show progressed — fairly impressed with what I perceived at the time as his restraint in not completely unleashing those frustrations. When I got back to the Park, I was immediately made aware that my interpretation of the broadcast was emphatically NOT that of the general public.

“Did you see the twenty page thread on ExtremeSkins?!?!?!” someone asked. “Portis just KILLED Zorn on the radio,” someone else said.

Dan Steinberg over at the DC Sports Bog (who has a fairly lengthy transcript posted) went with “Portis Smashes Zorn”, while Ryan O’Halloran at Redskins 360 kept it restrained with “Portis Unplugged”.

I still don’t buy it. Take the much-repeated implication that Portis said that he should go on IR: he was clearly, CLEARLY being sarcastic, and Coach Thompson calls him on it immediately. That was the tone I caught through most of what he said, and it’s a tone that Portis uses a lot.

More to the point, I would both hope and expect that Portis would be upset at not being put in the game, something Zorn addressed in HIS response later, also on ESPN980.
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One More Thing About Portis: Time To Vote Again

Photo by Otto Greule, Jr./Getty Images

Photo by Otto Greule, Jr./Getty Images

There’s one more thing to note about Clinton Portis today, something I failed to mention in my earlier post about his modeling career: he’s been nominated for yet another FedEx Ground Player of the Week award, which means that it’s time to get voting. The competition is stiff (Matt Forte really had an impressive day on Sunday), so every vote is going to count on this one. Portis has already won three of these FedEx awards this season.