Portis: "I'm far from washed up"
Never in my life have I seen ESPN2's content so closely resemble ESPN 980's John Thompson Show as on Tuesday morning. The network's First Take program welcomed Clinton Portis as a special Super Bowl week guest, and the Redskins' running back returned to many of the themes he's touched on this year during his weekly radio appearances. Except this time, we could see his green hoodie while he was talking, and he didn't sound like he was submerged beneath a bathtub full of tapioca.
Portis appeared serious throughout, even when he was asked to have some fun. He was asked why he got rid of the weekly characters, allowing ESPN to show some of his greatest costumes and brilliant smiles from the past, and his answer seemed sort of forlorn.
"Man, I started taking so much heat for everything I was doing, I just tried to fall out the public eye," Portis said. "As far as the characters, it became A Cry For Help, A Search For Identity, and everything else. I just tried to fall under the radar and mind my business and go to work. I think that was the wrong approach, because I started thinking of work as work instead of going over there to enjoy myself and having fun like I was, and really I would love to do that."
So why doesn't he, came the next question? Why doesn't he just go back to having fun? Portis got the answer exactly right: people don't want to see athletes having fun minus the wins.
"That's all I ever wanted to do was have fun, but somehow, someway, whenever I'm having fun, it's really taken the wrong way by others," he said, nodding in the direction of anonymous message board posters. "And with the media that's in D.C. and your teammates taking shots, I got so tired of all the BS that I just fell back. I think with Coach Shanahan coming in, that will give us the opportunity to have fun. I mean, it's always fun when you're winning, and we haven't really been winning. So if we start winning, I think I can have fun again."
As for his own status, Portis wasn't asked about his health, but he made it clear that he plans on being in D.C. next season. He talked about how he knows what opportunities he'll get in Shanahan's offense, and how the play-action will prevent teams from focusing on the running game, and he said he's looking forward to returning to a system that brought him such success.
"I know what I'm capable of doing, and I can't wait to get back on the field next year to prove to people that I'm far from washed up or done," Portis said. "And I will walk away from this game when I'm ready. You know, the game's not gonna pass me by. All this I can't do it anymore [talk], I'm eager to go out and prove to people that they're wrong about me. I think everybody's so caught up in thinking me and Coach Zorn couldn't get along, and thinking I was selfish, and then all of the sudden I'm Mr. Snyder's best friend and I can do whatever I want to do. That's not the case. I think a lot of that is blown out of proportions. I speak to Mr. Snyder, he's the owner of the team, that's what you're supposed to do. I'm not afraid to go and speak to my boss.
"It's pretty much just a lot of finger pointing, which I think Coach Shanahan's gonna get rid of that and he's gonna have the dedication of the players. You won't have to worry about who's doing their job or who's not. I think with Coach Shanahan, if you're doing your job, you'll be fine. If you're not, you won't be there."
See? John Thompson Show material, right? Portis also said he has no problems with Jason Campbell, that he was just pointing out that Campbell was not a vocal leader, and that his comments about Campbell's leadership qualities were take out of context. Oh, and he thinks Peyton Manning would defeat Drew Brees in an arm-wrestling match.
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