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Clinton Portis and the Quest for 1,500 Yards

Portis, en route to 1,487. (By Marcio Jose Sanchez - AP)

As I was driving to Redskins Park this morning, I heard John Riggins absolutely unloading upon Clinton Portis. Former Skins running backs now employed by Skins media really have a problem with this guy, huh?

Today's issue: a report (on ESPN 980) that Portis potentially asked Jim Zorn to help him get 1,500 yards yesterday. He needed 93 yards, and actually got 29 carries, but wound up 13 yards short. Some of Riggins's remarks about a player trying to achieve a statistical milestone in a meaningless finale: "Sickening, sickening....He is the cancer....Losers....They're done....Find something else to do next fall....As long as he's on the team, they're done."

(I scribbled that stuff on a piece of paper while driving, so a couple words might be off.)

Anyhow, I suspect I wasn't the only one listening to the program, because Portis faced several questions about that 1,500-yard milestone today during his final media gathering. Here's the full transcript of that portion of his remarks, which I suspect won't make Riggins feel any better. And yeah, Portis was his usual jokey self today, so interpret all this as you will.

You became real close to 1,500 yards, was that important to you at all?

That's why I played yesterday. You know? To me, it was a milestone I really wanted to accomplish. I think it would have put me in the air of some elite backs. Unfortunately I fell 10 yards short, you know, 13 yards short. So it happens like that sometimes.

Was that something that you had asked coach about and expressed interest in wanting as many opportunities as possible to make that happen?

Hey, I played yesterday. So of course it was a goal of mine, you know, but I know coach wanted to win. So I couldn't be selfish and sit and be like, 'Oh, I'm trying to get to 1,500 yards.' You know, we was in position to win the game and we tried to win.

But did you ask him, CP?


Did you know how close you were as the game was going on?

I knew I went into the fourth quarter needing 22 yards to get it. So, hey, it just ain't happen man. We had the opportunities, I touched the ball a lot, they fed it to me. You know, I can't complain. I think they gave me a lot of opportunities to get it, and I just fell short.


The other highlight of Portis's remarks came when he was asked about mental and physical healing after this season.

"The losses gone for me," he said. "I mean, it's over. You know, [it's not like] next week I'm gonna sit down and be depressed, looking at that TV. I probably won't watch a playoff game. I know I won't do anything associated with exercising or anything else at least until March. I'm gonna get away. When I say I'm gonna get away, I'm gonna get away. I'm done. It's over."

Until March, came the follow-up?

"Probably later than that, if I can," he said. "What's the rush?"

I asked when he'd start thinking about football again.

"[Bleep], probably this year in July, when we come back to camp," he said, although he especially seemed like he was joking for this line.

And I asked why he wouldn't watch the playoffs.

"For what?" he answered. "I've done seen them teams play before."

Finally, a wise soul from Comcast SportsNet thought to ask Portis how his no-football-until-March plans would fit into his Pro Bowl election.

"Damn, I forgot I've got to go over there," he said. "Oh yeah, I'll go over there....I forgot all about the Pro Bowl. They give you a week to get ready, so I'll be all right."

Clinton Portis: great for bloggers, really really great for sports talk radio, possibly not the Platonic ideal of a Hollywood team leader for a few literalist fans.

By Dan Steinberg  |  December 29, 2008; 10:49 AM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Next: Jim Zorn's Offseason Goals: Dinosaur Training


Clinton Portis is one of the biggest cry babies on the team. Anyone who sits on the bench and pouts because the coach pulls him has too big an ego. He needs to be traded back to Denver so he be with all the other losers

Posted by: gregthepirate43 | December 29, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

wow... if this isn't the Pot calling the Kettle BLACK!

Hey Riggo... why doesn't Portis just sit out a year and pout too when he turns 30!

Posted by: dupa3 | December 29, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Also, Portis said he was going to re-dedicate himself and his work ethic in memory of Sean Taylor.... he seemed to do that this year and had a very good year rushing the ball. It seems like he may have left this behind now, looking to the future......

Posted by: dupa3 | December 29, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

First Mitchell, now Riggins?

Why do washed up Skins get these jobs in the first place?

Posted by: StetSportsBlog | December 29, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Portis is the epitome of all that is wrong with this team... another example of the "ESPN" generation of "me first" players.. it doesn't matter how many yards he rushes for, he does it for himself, not the team... he is a cancer and needs to be removed so that they have any hope of going somewhere.. trade him for a lineman or two!!

Posted by: causmos | December 29, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Riggins is both wrong and right here. Wrong for the harshness of his language in a few of the statements, but right in saying that as long as Portis is here this team will not thrive. He sets the tone for a team that is content with mediocrity every year, that is a fact that is irrefutable. All this town wants is a winner, and he doesn't seem to care that he can't call himself one.

John Riggins was a winner, a Super Bowl winner and Hall of Famer at that, so in my opinion he's reserved the right to give his opinion on anyone in the Redskins organization. After all, this team hasn't been respectable since Riggins' era.

Posted by: tjeffries1 | December 29, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Sorry CP will never be in the same class as Larry Brown or Riggo. And we are stuck with Danny's Boy's bottom because of his cap number.

CP will be the Deadskin's because he is Danny's boy.

Shame Danny doesnt realize running backs like Cp are easy to find and you dont have to pay thorugh the nose for them.

Posted by: omarthetentmaker | December 29, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I heard the Riggins comment this morning and couldn't agree more. Individual goals over team goals are why some teams win and some lose. The example of Drew Brees going for a bom to try to win the game on the last play instead of an easy short pass that he HAD and which would have given HIM a personal record was a good example.

Team over individual.

(If he did) Portis should now have asked and (if he did) Zorn should have sat his ego ass on the bench.

Sometimes I get the feeling that having players from "the U" on your team is a mixed blessing.

Posted by: bethesdaguy | December 29, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

"possibly not the Platonic ideal of a Hollywood team leader for a few literalist fans."

Thank heavens at least one media schome gets Portis. It still upsets me how many of his own teammates didn't understand what he was saying with the "best o-line in the league" hypothetical. Success is situational.

And Riggins calling someone selfish? Didn't Riggo sit out an entire year over contracts to sit in the woods, hunt, and drink beer? How many TDs did JR score in 1980 for his teammates, huh? Isn't the fan fiction that Gibbs went out to his Riggins' cabin and John R. told Gibbs that Gibbs needed Riggins more than Riggins needed Gibbs?

Though Gibbs was happy not to have traded the "fruitcake", he wanted to. Give us a break, John.

I'm all about independence and knowing that football is just a business about games, but we've got good pot and kettle talk going on here.

I wonder how much of this is Riggins being upset Portis owns a few long untouchable 44 records, and CP also becoming Gibbs II's right-hand man. Feeling your stale oats, Riggs? (No, not Gerald. John.)

Posted by: WorstSeat | December 29, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Not too bad. Just Clinton being Clinton.......

Posted by: DaReal4th | December 29, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Teams can survive guys like Portis because even though they're primmadonnas and need special care, as long as the team is doing well, they'll fight all out for you (a la Randy Moss in NE)'s just that the Skins are not doing well and when they're not, Portis' primmadonna act wears thin...

Posted by: Fuzzy21 | December 29, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Portis saying he has no interest in watching the NFL playoffs reminds me of something you wrote a few weeks ago, Dan--a lot of football players don't seem to have much interest in football.

It seems strange because you don't hear top athletes from other sports talk like this--Ovechkin talked about watching lots of hockey when the Caps were eliminated from the playoffs last year, NBA and NCAA basketball players are always talking about watching other players and teams play, and baseball players sit and will watch other games in the clubhouse. What's the deal with football players?

Posted by: TheFingerman | December 29, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Hey Riggo... why doesn't Portis just sit out a year and pout too when he turns 30!

Posted by: dupa3

His answer to this was that they dumped their HC and hired Gibbs. "You're welcome!" was his answer. Three Lombardy trophies.

Posted by: columbiard | December 29, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

After all, this team hasn't been respectable since Riggins' era.

Posted by: tjeffries1 | December 29, 2008 12:14 PM

hey dummy the skins won 2 of there 3 superbowls AFTER riggo the overrated redneck retired


Posted by: jonthefisherman | December 29, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: jonthefisherman | December 29, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Please. Portis came in the offseason and put in the work because the team promised to guarantee an additional segment of bonus dollars to him.

Portis has never once really sacrificed anything for anyone else.

He threw Joe Gibbs under the bus in 2006, he threw Jim Zorn under the bus a few weeks ago and did the same thing to his offensive line earlier in the season.

While I don't agree with Riggo that Portis is an 'average' NFL back, I do agree that like TO he has the capability of sinking team chemistry at times and making everything about himself.

Posted by: leopard09 | December 29, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Riggins sat out a year, Maybe he thought he was through with football. But when he suited up and it mattered, he was a team player first. Remember the years he spent as basically a blocking back?

Portis, Moss and that bunch are the epitome of the American professional athlete today. Spoiled, rich, me-first and unaware of the concept of team.

Riggins is right, Washington will never be a great team with what they have now. Keep Zorn, fire the owner and GM.

Posted by: bethesdaguy | December 29, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Although Riggins is not the right person to be calling someone out, I could not agree with him more. I can't stand Portis and his "to cool for school" attitude. He plays hard in the games, but is a terrible teammate. I feel bad for the other guys in the locker room who have to deal with his crap. They all know that he is untouchable and Danny Boy has his lips on Potris' ass constantly. Who cares if he plays hard 16 games a year. He is an absolute cancer to this team the other 349 days in the year.
I know that it is going to be next to impossible to unload Portis this off season, but his stock is about as high as it is going to get. There HAS to be a team out there that is as stupid as us who will make a trade with us and take on his contract! But, Danny Boy would never let his boy go, no matter how bad he is for the team!

Posted by: NCMatt1 | December 29, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Gotta love portis...dude is hilarious.

These people who think portis is average--perhaps they don't watch much football? Portis is 27 and needs 4,000 yards and 20 TDs to match eric dickerson's numbers. Yes, Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson.

Posted by: WrongDog | December 29, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I guess we're all forgetting that Clinton injured himself last year by making a tackle after an interception during a pre-season game... yeah, that sounds like a guy who only cares about himself...

Posted by: alecw81 | December 29, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Well, at least Portis is honest and consistent, I'll give him that.

Snyder is proud to be buddies with this dude, to undermine his coach to jock this character, not to mention the millions in guaranteed money? All for the 8-8 promised land? Makes me respect Snyder even less, if that's possible.

Posted by: rooster75 | December 29, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

it really is funny how all these people are saying Portis is a cancer, needs to go, is average. I loved Riggo as a Skin but hate him as an analyst. Portis just had one of the best seasons ever by a Skins RB. He blocks with attitude. He plays hurt. Screw you all that can't take a little humor. If you haven't noticed, he is a very sarcastic and eccentric guy. To compare him to TO as far as attitude is RIDICULOUS.

Who can blame him for wanting some time away from the game? If so, maybe you should try taking hits from elite athletes for 5 months and see how you're feeling. Check that, none of you would ever even get a look from an NFL team. He'll recharge the batteries and will train hard in the offseason and will be ready for next season.

Posted by: Notorious_LMG | December 29, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

screw riggo. He's had it out for Portis since Clinton got here. Also, what's the big deal if a player wants to accomplish something. Its not like what he put himself before the team, he just wanted to accomplish something in the context of team.

Posted by: tedunni1 | December 29, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

not respectable since the riggins era????? I guess the domination of the league in '91 wasn't really respectable. that being said. most everyone who comments here is very generous, every time you comment you give away your ignorance. Portis is fine and we will win when we can pressure a QB and protect our own

Posted by: skinztattoo89 | December 29, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

We were out of the playoffs and Clinton wanted 1500 yards. Big deal. Good for him.

Posted by: charley42 | December 29, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

When playoffs are no longer part of the equation, I have no issue with a guy asking for some help in reaching a significant milestone. In several of our wins, Portis was the difference.

Clinton is a top back and a diva. But diva doesn't equal problem. He plays hard and comes ready to play. And after the beating he has taken this year, his body deserves a break.

Portis wanting 1500 yards is a long way from Bruce Smith coming here just to get a sack.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | December 30, 2008 1:28 AM | Report abuse

"His answer to this was that they dumped their HC and hired Gibbs. "You're welcome!" was his answer. Three Lombardy trophies."

So it's ok to dump a coach for a sulking back who at the end of his career didn't practice AT ALL, got loaded and made inappropriate comments to a Supreme Court Justice, and is just jealous that someone broke his team records? Riggins was a great back, but he believed his own hype as much as anyone in the game. I don't seem to recall CP taking bows after a game or heading out back to drink after practice. And to the dipstick quoted above that would be one SB win, one SB a**kicking, and two LOMBARDI Trophies after Mister (drunken) TV Personality retired.

Posted by: | December 30, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

RIGHT ON, RIGGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Portis is a CHUMP!

Riggins is more than correct. It's absurd more people don't see it.

Everything anyone wanted to know about Portis's character (or the lack thereof) was said by the little big-mouth when he was defending his good buddy, Micheal Vick. Choo-choo Portis said that Vick should be able to do whatever he "want" to "dem dogs" "'cause daman was in his own backyad!"

Go away, Portis, mad or otherwise, just go away!

Posted by: duru44 | January 1, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

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