Portis Addresses Dustup With Sellers and Infighting
Clinton Portis finally addressed his dust-up with Mike Sellers during his Tuesday appearance on ESPN 980's John Thompson Show. As my colleague Jason Reid previously reported (following the lead of CSN's Chick Hernandez), Sellers confronted Portis in the locker room last week after learning that the tailback had called coaches during a previous game to request that Sellers be replaced by Todd Yoder in the backfield.
"Man, I think it was a minor situation that was blown out of proportion," Portis said. "I think me and Mike handled that, and I thought it was between me and him. You know, there was only two other people in the locker room when it happened, so how it got out to the media. I mean, it's exchanging words. You know, when you work with somebody year round, every day, you know, Mike always feel like that big brother-little brother role. I think Mike being an older cat and a veteran cat, Mike always want the big brother role, and sometimes little brother and big brother not gonna co-exist. But you know, we exchanged our words and it was done with, and all the sudden the media got a hold of it. So we discussed it, and we fine."
This message--that the publicity was worse than the original incident--has become something of a theme. Here's what Jason Campbell said about the incident Monday on the 106.7 The Fan's LaVar and Dukes show.
"There's some things that we do as a team that...you try to keep in house, you don't try to let things get out of house," Campbell said, when asked about the incident. "You know, I can't answer that one, just because as a team leader, I can't put stuff out there like that, whether my opinion or not. But that's what I'm saying, if it's [not] one thing it's another thing, and it seems like there's always new situations that keep popping up, that keep attacking our team.
"Everyone's talking about [the incident] between Mike and Clinton. See, I never know how that even got public. It's just certain stuff, you're like, 'Man, how did some stuff just get out?' Because once it leaks outside the locker room, it develops into a whole 'nother situation. It may develop into something bigger that you didn't even imagine. And it could have been something small at the time, but by the time it hits everyone, and gets from another person to another person, from a sports radio show to another sports radio show, it's developed into something huge, and then it can get back to your team. It's crazy, man. That's what I'm talking about. We're dealing with a lot of different situations right now that some how some way we've got to find a way to overcome, and it's more than just football."
And here's what defensive backs coach Jerry Gray had to say on the matter during a postgame interview with CSN's Kelli Johnson.
"The Redskins of old, those guys had great leaders, and the reason why is because those guys are all transparent," Gray said. "They would call a guy out and they didn't have to go out of the locker room. And I think when we get to that point, we're gonna be a really good team. We fight hard, we practice hard, but the thing that we haven't understood yet is [to] stop airing your dirty laundry all over the place and keep it in-house. Fight each other but then don't let anybody else fight you."
Reid also reported that some of his teammates have grown tired of Portis's act--including his lack of in-week practice time--and Portis went out of his way to address that charge on the radio.
"All last week, I was in pain and practicing," he said, when asked about his physical condition. "All of the sudden the aggravation from the outside world--'Is Clinton practicing, is Clinton practicing?'--and then it funnels into the locker room--'Oh, man, when you gonna practice?' You know, it's just the aggravation. I practiced all week, didn't ask to sit out a practice, went out, participated, and did whatever they asked me to do, but yet and still, that don't stop my body from aching.
"I mean, when I come off the field running the ball...I might take a shot here and there, my neck might be sore, or I might have a little bruise, but I don't really complain or worry about that. I know it's gonna be temporary and be over with. Right now I'm aching. I think my body sore. It's not painful, it's just sore. I feel like I went out and played a rough game. I'm sure a lot of players on our team feel the same way, but for me, I've got to go out and I've got to practice and do whatever they ask me to do."
Thompson wisely followed up by asking if players had really been asking about his practice time.
"Yeah, I think we started hearing the little side talk, 'Oh, he not practicing again, when you gonna practice?' You know, I mean, you hear it. It's only right when you're losing, it's always gonna be something. Players, coaches, everybody gonna look for a bailout, like, 'Oh, man, what's wrong, is it because he ain't practicing, is it because of [something else]?' So I practiced. So I mean, just as a team, we've got to stick together and find our way through this."
That, in fact, is exactly what Campbell said Monday on LaVar's show.
"We've all got to be on one page, and you've got to mean it," he said. " You know, it's one thing to say it, but you've got to mean it, and what we have to do is support each other. It's too many [things] going on, it's too many things going on that need to be put down to the limit in order for us to get to where we want to go. Because this is not a one-man game or a two-man game or a three-man game. It's everybody, man....Right now we're in a storm, but you'll find out a lot of character about our team through all of this. Just know, we are trying to lift each other up and carry each other."
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