Clinton Portis: Still Quotable, Part One
Clinton Portis just spoke to the media. He was, as we say, mint gem. I will continue to update this entry as I transcribe the tape, but it would be hard to get much better than the top [which is now at the bottom].
Perhaps my favorite part was when he talked about his past differences with Al Saunders over substitution patters. He was asked whether they had talked such differences out in the offseason, and he said that they did, in passing.
"I just got to buy into his system," Portis said. "If he says, 'Clinton I need you to run through that brick wall,' and that brick wall, it's hard to run through a brick wall, I've got to find a way to get as close as I can and dive over the top of this brick wall and tell him, '[Bleep], I made it over.' You know? 'I did it. I didn't do it the way you asked me to do it, but I got there'."
Uh. Anyhow, he was also asked about last year--he had mentioned that he was too relaxed last year--and his answer turned into a comparison of Denver and Washington.
"I think I was just tired man," he said of last summer. "You know, four years in a row, when I was in Denver, it was different. Football season, when that last game hit zero-zero, you had a speech the next day and you was gone until you had that mandatory camp before the season. You had the mandatory camp, you needed to come back in shape, practice was a breeze, practice was easy, you was fresh.
"Once I became a Washington Redskin, it was a different vibe, it was a different everything. Football became a year-round event, and after going two straight years, you know, it was always football. You finished in the end of January, and at March you're back here. And the demands here was different: you need to be around for the offseason, you need to be around for this, we want you around for that, we've got a new coordinator, we've got five extra practices. You know what I'm saying, the constantly being around, it was always football football football. And I think really I was just burnt out coming into last year."
Man, I feel burnt out myself, and I just got back from vacation, so I completely sympathize. European types have more realistic vacation schedules. In fact, European-type American-style football players just were given a really long vacation. Like, forever.
Anyhow, after talking about how he's now heading towards his retirement, he was also asked about the impression given by some players last summer: Super Bowl or Bust.
"You know, we ain't get to the Super Bowl," Portis pointed out. "So what they feel like now, bust?"
Here was some fun about winning not necessarily being the only thing, which was nice to hear.
"If we fall short we fall short," he said, "but we need to fall short knowing that we gave eerything that we had and we left it on the field, so if we go 5-11 and every game we played we lost by one point then we fell short, but we feel good about falling short, compared to if we lose by 24 and we're just sitting there getting blowed out and guys gave up."
Another highlight: when Mike Wise asked about how Portis thought last year's training camp wasn't tough enough.
"I don't know, I think you got somebody confused," Portis said. "I didn't want to play in the preseason. I didn't want no part of the preseason, and I thought training camp was too tough. I'm Clinton Portis."
"I mean, I don't really think we can work no harder than we work out here. I think any day we step on the field, Coach Gibbs got the motto that we gonna work, we gonna get our work done. So there's only so much you can do. I think we've just got to play smarter, create more turnovers and put more points on the board."
"My idea of improving training camp is turning this into a resort, and that's going into the season healthy. I think the more guys you can get into the season healthy, the better chance you have, but Coach Gibbs and them's idea is totally different than mine, and they the rulers of this team. They the people who run this team, so whatever it is, I've just got to buy into it. I can't be an outcast any more, I can't stand up and speak on behalf of the team.
"It's every man for themselves, you know, as a leader of this team you can't speak for another grown man. Every man that's here is grown and you've got to pick your own poison and pick your own battles. And you know, I'm weak from battling for everyone else. Now I've got to battle for myself and find a way to stay active in this NFL."
He was asked whether it would be hard for him to stay silent, him being the guy who kept referring to himself in the third person today and talking about how he was a pioneer in helping guys get paid (see below).
"It won't be hard I've just got to mind my business," he said. "I told you, I can't find nobody else's battles, I'm going to mind my own business. I'm going to keep Clinton Portis out of trouble, I'm going to keep Clinton Portis focused, I'm going to keep Clinton Portis on top of his game. Outside of that. you can't ask me about the next man, I don't know how nobody feel, I don't know what nobody think, I don't know what nobody doing, the only thing I know is what's going on in Clinton Portis's life and that's the only thing I can control."
Awesome. Theone thing this town needs is more athletes referring to themselves in the third person, for sure.
On the Portis-Betts combination: "You know, I'm going to be at the helm, unless something changes, and Ladell's going to get his opportunities when I come out of the game. You know, if they decide they want to split time and do this and do that, I'm all for that man. You know, I just want to win. I done had the records, I done had the fame and the publicity, now I want to win."
On whether he's assuming he's the starter: "It's not an assumption to me. I don't know, maybe you know something I don't know, but it's not an assumption. I don't feel threatened by anything."
On whether Betts might sometimes get more carries: "It might be in a blowout where I come and say, 'Coach, man this game is over with, let me come out'....If he sees something in the defense, he's able to take advantage of a defense that's weak and I can't, put Ladell in the game. I don't care. I don't mind. You know what I'm saying, I'm all for that. At the same time, Clinton Portis is going to be Clinton Portis and I'm going to get my carries, I'm going to get my yards, I'm going to get my touchdowns and I'm still going to be in the same position."
On whether he would have a chip on his shoulder this season.
"You know, three out my five years I played that way," he said. "Well, three out of my four years I played with a chip on my shoulder. I think it was when I finally got comfortable and felt like I arrived at elite status and was at the top of my platform in the eye of being a superstar that I got relaxed, and you know I got relaxed and I end up getting hurt and then all of the sudden everything you've done is forgotten about.
"So right now I'm stepping out like a rookie. I've got to prove to the world I'm still the same dangerous Two-Six that set the trends and set the examples of the NFL. You know, a lot of the things I did started a trend. You know, people requesting to be traded, people requesting to get paid. You know, before I did that there wasn't nobody doing it. So right now I'm eager to get back to elite status and continue to play with a chip on my shoulder and realize it's only a matter of time before you fall. And, you know, my next fall I want it to be when I sit on this podium and announce my retirement. You know, so I want to go out on my own and not let the people forget about me, no other way than that."
To summarize: Clinton Portis will again have a chip on his shoulder, and be dangerous, and get back to when he was a trend-setter in the NFL, convincing other players to ask for raises.
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