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Posted at 5:29 PM ET, 02/28/2011

Fare thee well, Clinton Portis

By Evan Bliss

Love him or hate him, Clinton Portis’ departure from the Washington Redskins is the end of an era. Brought in with an enormous bang of hype and expectation, this quiet and tame departure seems sadly too fitting. In the end, Portis’ famous enthusiasm and spirit could not overcome all the losses and bodily injury he endured over the past seven seasons in burgundy and gold.

It’s the right move. Portis is hoping a new environment will provide that career revitalizing B-12 shot, and the Redskins are glad to be rid of the $8.3 million tag around Portis’ strained groin for 2011. The Redskins were willing to restructure but for a backup’s contract, and Portis believes he’s still a feature back. And he should. If Portis can stay healthy there’s no reason he can’t still be one of the top backs in the league. But that’s a pretty sizable gamble for a player who’s missed 19 of the last 32 games and who’s turning 30 in September.

Regardless of it being the right move it’s still difficult to take in. His productivity declined, his health declined, his attitude declined, and the team declined in Portis’ seven-year stint. But when Portis was good, the Redskins were good. When Portis was happy, the fans were happy. When Shanahan came to Washington, I couldn’t help but think “maybe, just maybe” Portis could return to his best form and carry the Redskins with him. But it wasn’t meant to be.

It’s a sad day for Redskins fans, even those cynical fans that have been urging for his release for the last couple years. But it’s not sad because he should still be here. It’s sad because it’s now another era of unfulfilled expectations. It’s sad because Clinton Portis couldn’t get us back to the Super Bowl. It’s sad because we couldn’t get Clinton Portis to the Super Bowl.

The best way to rebuild is to get rid of the most recognizable pieces. Clinton Portis was the most recognizable piece, the face of the franchise. The fact that the second-most profitable franchise in the NFL is faceless is unfamiliar territory. As of now, only Mike Shanahan can fill that void, but I suppose that’s the way it has to be right now.

Thank you Clinton. Thanks for all the ups and downs, for all the touchdowns and all the fumbles, for all the humorous antics and all the obnoxious statements, for every bruise and every smile, it all adds up to a good seven years and your being the second-best running back in Redskins history. Not a great seven years, unfortunately for you and for us, but right now good is good enough for me.

By Evan Bliss  | February 28, 2011; 5:29 PM ET
Categories:  Evan Bliss, Redskins  | Tags:  Evan Bliss, Redskins  
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Next: Thoughts on deadline day trades


CP was a good back, but flawed. In Denver he played a speed and quickness game, like Chris Johnson or Bryant Westbrook. For Gibbs he worked to reinvent himself into a hybrid - striving to be like Terrel Davis or Emmit Smith. It almost worked but not quite. CP only ran full speed. Elite backs are patient. On a stretch play they will go 2/3 speed and wait for their blocking, pick a hole, and then blast through it. CP goes full tilt, makes a quick decision for good or ill. He missed a lot of potential 40+ yard runs because he was so impatient and made the wrong cut. He also ran to contact. He took more full-on collisions than a typical elite back other than a Bettis or Riggins type would allow. He's tough as nails, but it's not a surprise he's breaking down. He was great in pass pro, but a non factor in screens and routes out of the backfield.
He suffers too much from TO and Randy Moss disease. When the team is losing he starts blaming others. Eg, in St. Joe G's first 6-10 comeback season, CP complained that the play that went for the 60 yard touchdown vs Tampa had never been called again. That was a direct shot at St. Joe, Buges, Breaux, and the rest. The shots kept coming at his O-line, Sellers, QB, etc. Maybe they were true, but the blame game doesn't help make more wins. He didn't have quite the right scheme or talent around him to reach his full potential. He didn't have the intangibles to lead his teammates to perform as a more cohesive unit. Ernest Byner - someone less talented - was a better Redskin than CP. But CP was a warrior and exciting. I thank him for his play.

Posted by: The_Sons_of_Billy_Kilmer | March 1, 2011 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Firmly in the Hate Him camp. Good riddance.

Posted by: KDSmallJr | March 1, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Like I said 2 days ago, Have fun in the new rocking chair Mr.Portis and thank you for the heart you showed. I know you will have a lot to say even if we can`t understand it.

Posted by: vexed50verizonnet | March 1, 2011 6:41 PM | Report abuse

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