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Portis discusses relationship with "Mr. Snyder"

After Abe Pollin died, both Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler discussed how frequently they'd talk to Pollin on the phone or visit with him in his office, talking about their families and about life. This was seen as a charming thing, showing how much Pollin cared for his players, and vice versa. And even though Jamison and Butler consistently referred to Pollin as "Mr. Pollin," and for years talked publicly about what a wonderful man he was, no one saw this as some sort of inappropriate flattery that undermined the structure of the team.

But it goes without saying that when there's chatter about Clinton Portis visiting with Daniel Snyder in his office or in social settings, fans and media members don't take as kindly a view. I'm not sure exactly why that is -- maybe because of Snyder's age, or because of Portis's history, or because of the larger roster and greater discipline needed on a football team. But regardless, I know for certain that Portis didn't help matters Tuesday, when he went on ESPN 980's "John Thompson Show" and discussed his relationship with Snyder at great length.

Thompson -- who has grown expert at pushing Portis's buttons -- asked Portis to describe his relationship with the owner, and whether it has been portrayed accurately. In response, the running back issued a passionate, rambling explanation filled with potential land mines about Snyder and his teammates.

"Man, it's actually not being portrayed accurately," Portis began. "I think anybody on our team could call Mr. Snyder or talk to Mr. Snyder or sit around and crack jokes with Mr. Snyder. For myself, my personality is the same with Mr. Snyder as it is with [equipment manager] Brad Berlin in the locker room. You know, I talk to them the same way, have fun with them, laugh at jokes and keep it moving. You know, I don't go to Mr. Snyder and ask to get out of something or for special treatment or anything else. I think it's just a function of everybody around.

"You know, I never called on him to [overrule] anything that I heard. If Coach Gibbs or Coach Zorn told me I couldn't do something, I'm [not] gonna go behind their back and ask Mr. Snyder. I think my relationship with him was just that of a respect thing, knowing how hard he was trying, and conversating about the team, and trying to give my input and help get the team going in the right direction. And then all of a sudden it came out as if, Oh, I'm the owner's pet, and don't nothing happen to me, and I won't get disciplined and I can do whatever I want to do.

"It's not like that," Portis continued, "because I can name other players who have that same relationship with Mr. Snyder. And as far as us going to dinner and all that, I don't think me and him get in the car and go to dinner together. Have we ended up at the same restaurant? Numerous times. I mean, he likes good food, and so do I, so if we're in the same restaurant, why wouldn't I go speak or exchange a glass of wine or a bottle of wine? I mean, I think that's a respect thing, and he gave me the money and allowed me to do it, so why not show my appreciations if I see him out in public?

"So I think everybody's just got it confused. And you look around and it's like you want there to be a fall-guy, and people in the locker room really not being stand up. You know, if you've got a problem, man, you go and talk to [Snyder] and see how he react to you. Don't sit there and think, oh, because I talk to him, he treat me someway, and if you say something, he won't acknowledge you. He'll acknowledge you.

"Hey, you know Mr. Snyder, after the game, if you win, he'll address everybody in the locker room. You lose, hey, he ain't gonna address nobody. He ain't gonna say nothing to you. You know that. Everybody knows that. It ain't no different with me, he don't speak to me after we lose, he speak to me after we win, just like he do everybody else.

(Yes, this is still the same answer, even though he now veers in an entirely new, and even more dangerous direction.)

"So I mean, I just think as people, man, you've got to get more stand-up guys, more guys that's gonna own up to the things they do," Portis continued. "You know, I own up to everything I do. When I got in trouble, whatever my consequences was or my fine was, I paid that and I left that alone. You know, when I did right, I deserved the recognition I got for it. But at the same time I never made it about me me me me me, I was always a team guy, will always be a team guy, jumped on more grenades for teammates than anybody else ever has.

"And maybe it don't come out, and maybe they won't say it, but there ain't a person in that locker room who I haven't went to bat for, or haven't stood up for, or haven't helped out, or haven't tried to guide. Anybody in that locker room know if they called on me, if they needed me, if they wanted something from me, I was the easiest person to talk to. I never had that reaction when somebody tried to tell me something and I explode -- no man, you've got it wrong! You know, if you critique me or have something to say to me and you came, I took that into consideration.

(Still going.)

"Now, do I do what you told me to do? No, but I'll take it into consideration. If London Fletcher or James Thrash or one of those guys pulled me to the side, I took it into higher consideration than I would anybody else, because I don't look up to everybody on that team. But when you've got guys such as London Fletcher or James Thrash or even a Rock Cartwright that come and talk to you, then you know, all right, let me take this into consideration. These guys gonna give it all they've got. But as far as everybody else, I mean, some of them stand up, some of them not. Outside of Santana, from my regular conversations, and who I sit next to in the locker room, I don't go around talking to people."

Finally, Thompson got a word in, allowing Portis to breathe. The coach asked how Portis would respond if Thompson, as his coach, told him he didn't want him communicating with the owner.

"I mean, if that was definitely an issue to you, then I would respect that," Portis said. "I mean, I wouldn't stop talking to him as far as speaking. But if you didn't want me going to sit beside him during practice when I don't have anything to do because I ain't on special teams and I'm just sitting over there kicking a football, or I'm done, jogging around and I'm over there talking to the owner, if you didn't want that, then ok, cool, you say that, and I've got to abide by that."

See, he wouldn't stop talking to him as far as speaking, but he would abide by that. Thompson kept it up, asking Portis to presume that as his coach, he asked him just to stop talking to the owner entirely, even at the restaurant. And somehow this became the jumping off point for another long one.

"So, would it be a disrespect thing if I saw you and your wife sitting there in the restaurant and I walked in and didn't acknowledge you all?" Portis asked. "Now I'm sitting here thinking the owner's looking at me like Who does he think he is, and everybody that's there in the restaurant is like 'Oh, they're on bad terms,' so I would never do that either.

"But I think everybody would assume there was brown-nosing, like I walk up to the owner today and say, 'Hey, Mr. Snyder, hey, what's up buddy,' you know? It never was that. And I think people just got to the point of being uncomfortable, and once people worried about themselves and their jobs, and all of that even becomes exposed.

"I think everything that ever went on our locker room became exposed, and I don't think that's supposed to happen," Portis said, again taking the conversation in an even more controversial direction. "I know I never went to the media with anything but my issues, I never came to anybody and said 'Well, this is going on or that's going on, or this is going on.' But somehow, someway, everything over there is leaked into the media. It's the topic of conversation.

"You guys told me anonymous guys talking about 'Oh, this ain't right,' but they don't put their names behind it. Stand up, take credit for what you say. If I say something, I'm saying it on Coach Thompson's Show. I don't go on no other radio shows, I don't talk to the media, when I come out and say it, it's on Coach Thompson. Clinton Portis has said it. It ain't no if, and or buts about it. And I don't retract from my conversation or turn my back....I said it, now what we gonna do. If I'm gonna get in trouble, I'll take criticism."

Soon after, Portis began explaining why Jason Campbell was a weak offensive captain, but we'll leave that for another blog post.

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 5, 2010; 4:17 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins , Wizards  
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Comments

the difference between pollin and his players and snyder and his players is that i dont get the impression abe was trying to usurp the power of his gm/coach by talking with his players. abe always had a GM (good or bad) who made the team decisions. i doubt abe went on scouting visits nor flew free agents around on his private jet. there is nothing wrong with showing compassion and caring for your players. when you are hanging out in vegas with them, or when they feel like they can go around other authority figures to get to you, thats when the line gets crossed.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | January 5, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I imagine Portis' agent will start following him around with duct tape ready.

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | January 5, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Loyal Fan,
Please, listen to Mr. Portis. He speaks the truth. I love my players, and I love my money. Probably the money a little more than the players, but I realize I need the players to get me my money. I also realize that regardless of the team's record, you will continue to come to games, buy food, buy jerseys, get disappointed, but come back for more next week.
Life is great, isn't it?
Mr. Dan Snyder

Posted by: DannyMSnyder | January 5, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing that Portis is wrong when he says that any player on the team could go into Snyder's office and joke around with him. I have a feeling that if Will Montgomery or Kareem Moore went into Snyder's office, they would be told to get the F out. That would be another difference between Snyder and Pollin also.

Posted by: DCUMD | January 5, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I wish that Clinton Portis would stop conversating for the sake and health of the English language.

Posted by: VeloStrummer | January 5, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Clinton Portis and Gilbert Arenas in the same city. Can anyone think of a place with two bigger blathering idiots than these guys?

Posted by: DC07 | January 5, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I remember an interview with Ross Tucker on 106.7 the Fan where he mentioned implied that Dan Snyder didn't acknowledge the rank & file players rather he socialized with the "star" players. Snyder openly engages in and by appearances endorses the "star" system Clinton has taken advantage of (at least while Ross was a player with the team).

Posted by: phk28 | January 5, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

My head hurts listening to whatever he's trying to say...

Posted by: woojai | January 5, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

doesnt portis blow up like this every offseason?

Posted by: ryjufox3 | January 5, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

couldn't post this on the portis article, but

is this guy's first name clinton, or is it me-me? he is the very essence of selfishness. there is no way this guy is a team player.

not sure which is funnier. the way he speaks ebonics or the fact that neither walker nor thompson have any sack to call him out.

Posted by: dgaudy | January 5, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Somehow I don't think Joe Gibbs was paying a compliment when he referred to Portis as "the GM". Portis certainly acts like he's running the team, he's got his finger on the pulse, and that he takes things into consideration. What a guy - with teammates like Portis you are doomed to fail as a team. How come Fletcher, Carter, and so many other Redskins players act like pros and Clinton can't seem to get there? At least if I see Fletcher in a restaurant I'll buy him a drink, Clinton I think I'd ignore.

Posted by: bfjam | January 5, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

If the new head coach doesn't erase all of the dotted lines between the players and Snyder on the org chart then he has no chance. Don't know what is more pathetic -Portis and his incoherent ramblings or Snyder's need to consort and consult with his highly paid "stars". This is a classic toxic organization. I doubt if Snyder is able to recognize or change his role in creating this mess.

Posted by: SackMan | January 5, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Nowhere in that interview is there anything bad Portis is saying about a special relationship with Snyder. Basically, he's saying he gets along with him and treats even the equipment folk in a friendly way. If he sees snyder in a restaurant, he acknowledges. he doesn't plan the draft with him. And he's right...if he didnt acknowledge, all the buzz would be that there is "bad blood" between them. i don't know how portis became such a punching bag, except for his salary. he earns every cent giving his all each week. the reason he didnt get az lot of yards in the time he played in 09: NO HOLES. When the holes are there in 2010, portis will shine. Here oir elsewhere. i hope in DC. Keep goin, 26!!!!

Posted by: NYskinsfan2 | January 5, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Nowhere in that interview is there anything bad Portis is saying about a special relationship with Snyder. Basically, he's saying he gets along with him and treats even the equipment folk in a friendly way. If he sees snyder in a restaurant, he acknowledges. he doesn't plan the draft with him. And he's right...if he didnt acknowledge, all the buzz would be that there is "bad blood" between them. i don't know how portis became such a punching bag, except for his salary. he earns every cent giving his all each week. the reason he didnt get az lot of yards in the time he played in 09: NO HOLES. When the holes are there in 2010, portis will shine. Here oir elsewhere. i hope in DC. Keep goin, 26!!!!

Posted by: NYskinsfan2 | January 5, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Nowhere in that interview is there anything bad Portis is saying about a special relationship with Snyder. Basically, he's saying he gets along with him and treats even the equipment folk in a friendly way. If he sees snyder in a restaurant, he acknowledges. he doesn't plan the draft with him. And he's right...if he didnt acknowledge, all the buzz would be that there is "bad blood" between them. i don't know how portis became such a punching bag, except for his salary. he earns every cent giving his all each week. the reason he didnt get az lot of yards in the time he played in 09: NO HOLES. When the holes are there in 2010, portis will shine. Here oir elsewhere. i hope in DC. Keep goin, 26!!!!

Posted by: NYskinsfan2 | January 5, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Nowhere in that interview is there anything real bad Portis is saying about a special relationship with Snyder. Basically, he's saying he gets along with him and treats even the equipment folk in a friendly way. If he sees snyder in a restaurant, he acknowledges. he'll shoot the breeze with him if he's around. he doesn't plan the draft with him. And he's right...if he didnt acknowledge snyder in a restaurant, all the buzz would be that there is "bad blood" between them. i don't know how portis became such a punching bag, except for his salary. he earns every cent giving his all each week. the reason he didnt get a lot of yards in the time he played in 09: NO HOLES. (C. Boren, by the way, knows NOTHING about runningbacks, schemes, whetehr holes are there or not, etc) When the holes are there in 2010, portis will shine. People will write how he "reinvented himself" when it will be just Clinton being Clinton. He will shine Here or elsewhere. i hope in DC. Keep goin, 26!!!!

Posted by: NYskinsfan2 | January 5, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

oops...my computer was not acknowledging the statement was posted...sorry.

Posted by: NYskinsfan2 | January 5, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Actually, IMHO, this is one of Clinton's least confusing rants. It's very roundabout... but he makes good points.

Posted by: TheDubb | January 5, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Gee whiz champ. First he threw the offensive line under the bus. Then he says Campbell is a bad leader. He earlier said that "if I had a real line" - this guy needs TO GO. He is a weak, stupid cancer that needs to go. Miami U is obviously not an academic institution. How embarrassing it must be for some of the staff there to have this guy open his mouth.

Posted by: egrib | January 5, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Sorry egrib but I earned a professional
degree from UM. They didn't give it to me, I actually had to show up and produce. Busting on the U based on the behavior of one person (whether he is right or wrong) makes YOU look like a weak stupid cancer.Let's hear from some of the alums from YOUR alma mater.

Posted by: rfsjms | January 5, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Poor Portis... he is just misunderstood and I feel sorry for him, because he can't articulate himself properly enough to defend or explain his position. He makes some valid points and in some cases I can see where things that have happened can be misunderstood; but there are flaws in his game, he is still child like in his thinking on things at times. If I was close to him, I'd tell him to just be quiet and let your play do the speaking....

Posted by: tommycat | January 5, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Poor Portis... he is just misunderstood and I feel sorry for him, because he can't articulate himself properly enough to defend or explain his position. He makes some valid points and in some cases I can see where things that have happened can be misunderstood; but there are flaws in his game, he is still child like in his thinking on things at times. If I was close to him, I'd tell him to just be quiet and let your play do the speaking....

Posted by: tommycat | January 5, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

Clinton Portis changed physically to meet the demands of Joe Gibbs' offense. Originally a sleek, speedy shifter in the open-field did all that he could to bulk up and become a power-back who could grind it out in games. There are not 5 other runningbacks in the league that could have altered there styles and been as successful as he has.

Clinton is one of the best blitz-pickup/pass-blocking backs that you are going to see. His lack of practice reps are a result of the pounding that he takes on a weekly basis.

Ladell Betts, the "practicing professional" back stayed healthy for less than a half of a season after assuming Portis' role partially.

Clinton is a refreshing individual, who has enough charisma to appeal to a mass audience. He is one of the few Redskins when healthy who can be considered candidates for All-Pro in the NFL.

Posted by: karlw171 | January 7, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

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