Portis says he and Arenas just need to win
Any attempt to identify D.C.'s most popular athlete in 2005 or so would have made for a pretty short discussion: Gilbert Arenas or Clinton Portis? They were charismatic, they were national stars, they were weird as hell, and they were winners. Arenas led the Wizards to the second round of the NBA playoffs that spring, and Portis carried the Redskins into the second round of the NFL playoffs the following fall. Both men were profiled in Esquire, and both provided just gobs of material for the local media.
Five years later, that era seems to be winding down. Portis is struggling with injuries, and isn't guaranteed his starting job when he returns. Arenas submarined his franchise with that whole gun thing. Both continue to cause controversies in the media, even as their on-field and on-court production has waned.
So during his weekly appearance on 106.7 The Fan Tuesday, Portis was asked by Mike Wise what he and Arenas would have to do to find a happy ending in this town. Yes, Wise really used the term "happy ending."
"Just go out and win, man," Portis said. "I think for ourselvess, we can't worry about the money situations. I think so many people want to make it about money money money money money, but if you would be in my shoes, I think you would realize we deserve what we've got. There's a reason we got the money from playing the way that we played. But at the same time, if you get a 15-year contract, they want you to play better all 15 years.
"We've just got to go out and play. I think you've got to have a non feeling to the media, to the reports, to the reaction of the fans, because it's always what's next, or who can come in and be the savior if you don't get it done. So we've just got to continue to go out and keep our head up and continue to try to help our organizations."
Indeed, in the "What's Next" category, D.C. now has Strasburg and Harper and a transcendent Ovechkin and Wall. Those 2005-2007 seasons seem like a long time ago.
"I actually think with this being a sports town, they grow to love you when you carrying a team, and they forget about you just as quickly," Portis said. "I think given the opportunity, the fans around here - which are great, loyal fans - fail to realize, you can't do it by yourself. For myself or for Gilbert, you look at those situations and it's always, oh, they're not doing enough. If you look at the consistency over the years of Gilbert and myself, I think you will see that we give all we got. I think fans just want you to do more. I think everybody's job becomes you. When the defense don't get a turnover or miss a tackle...I think the fans go Oh, Portis should have did something. There's nothing I can do with the defense on the field.
"What I think the fans need to realize is for myself and Gilbert, we give it all we've got, man. You can't go out and give any more. I think people want you to push push push push push, and if you look at the consistency of the both of us over time, I think the last couple years we've both been banged up due to injury, but that comes from giving it all you've got. And I think people need to realize that in sports, you become a target, you become the focal point, and it's always I've got to stop this man, and if we stop him we've got a chance. And I think that's just what we've been going through. I think the focus has been on stopping us and somebody else having to step up."
As much as I love listening to Portis talk, I'm not sure his analogy quite works in the Wizards example, at least in recent years. And if you think that analogy didn't work, try this one on. Holden Kushner asked Portis if he feels like he's been forgotten over the past few weeks.
"Yeah man, but you know, that's life," he said. "That's just like Bush leaving the office, we came into a mess and a bad situation and all of the sudden Bush left out of there and it became Obama's problems. Everybody say Obama did this and Obama did that. Obama is in the office to try to straighten it up. I don't think he was the one that caused the mess.
"So that's what I'm here for, man, I'm trying to straighten it up, I'm trying to come out and help and do whatever I can. But it's not tomorrow, it's not tomorrow or a year from now the economy's gonna be better, it's what you did for me today, show me something today. Today there's nothing I can show you besides the attempt and the opportunity that I've been given to try to go out and help in whatever way I can, and that's all you can do, man. You can't worry about everything else because you're not gonna satisfy everybody, and people are always gonna feel a certain way about anything you do. You're gonna have some people that love you and some people that hate you. That comes with having diehard fans. When they for you, they for you, when they against you, it's rough."
So in the analogy, is Portis Bush and Torain Obama? Or was Trung Canidate Bush and Portis Obama? Or was Jason Campbell Bank of America, and Portis is TARP? Or maybe Jim Zorn was "Mission Accomplished," and Portis is "Yes We Can?"
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