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With Portis's injury, Riggins's record seems safe


(By Jonathan Newton - TWP)


Combine Clinton Portis's latest injury with the widespread assumption that this could be his final year in Washington, and here's where you wind up: John Riggins's place atop the Redskins' all-time rushing record seems safe.

Remember, Portis entered last season needing 1,370 rushing yards to pass Riggo. Since Portis had averaged better than 1,440 yards in his six seasons that weren't interrupted by injury, this seemed like pretty much a foregone conclusion, and it led to some bizarre preseason quotes from C.P.

"You did your thing," he said of Riggins. "You know, the people around here love you. I'm not trying to replace you. I don't want to be you. Your background check and my background check, totally different, so I really don't feel like he can comment on nothing I do, you know?...

"And I think he was a great running back, but think of who else was around, you know? Really not hard to be a great running back when you've got all that talent and help around you. I think they just had great teams, you know? I think everybody who played in that era as a running back was big around here, so it really ain't no ill will. I'm minding my business, and hopefully he'll do the same, and if I do break the record, then the day that that time come, it won't be all of the sudden oh the hell with him."

But Portis was again injured last year, and racked up just 494 yards on the ground. He entered this year needing 876 yards to pass Riggins, which again seemed like a gimme. But he only has 195 thus far, and is now out for at least four weeks, still needing 681 yards to take over the top spot.

Assume he misses the minimum four games, and then gets further rest during the team's bye. That would leave eight games for a possible last assault on the team's record book. Portis would need to average just over 85 yards a game in that stretch to take the top spot. If you assume the injury sidelines him for six weeks and he only has seven games left, then he'd need to average 97 a game. And over his previous eight games, he's averaged just 63 yards on the ground.

In other words, Riggins's record of 7,472 yards may be safe.

(Incidentally, with 6,792 rushing yards, Portis is way ahead of No. 3 on the list, Larry Brown. Portis is also second to Riggins in all-time Redskins carries, although he's more than 300 carries behind. So Riggins's all -time yards-per-carry is 3.76, while Portis's is 4.09. Larry Brown checks in at 3.84, and Stephen Davis clocks a 4.19. Portis already has the mark for most 100-yard games as a Redskin, and has no shot at Riggins's mark for career rushing touchdowns.)

More on Portis from Sally Jenkins, LaVar Arrington and Barry Svrluga.

By Dan Steinberg  | October 7, 2010; 10:29 AM ET
Categories:  Media, Redskins  
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Comments

Dont count Portis out. I am pulling for him. No one on this team sacrifices himself more than Portis does... he has been the only real offense for 6 seasons. He deserves the record. He has more carries than any 2 RB's since 2004 - he is a work horse.
Here's hoping he can get the record. He has earned it.
Also -clear space on the ring of fame.

Posted by: sott1 | October 7, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Dont count Portis out. I am pulling for him. No one on this team sacrifices himself more than Portis does... he has been the only real offense for 6 seasons. He deserves the record. He has more carries than any 2 RB's since 2004 - he is a work horse.
Here's hoping he can get the record. He has earned it.
Also -clear space on the ring of fame.

Posted by: sott1 | October 7, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

It's almost like Zeno's Paradox, with Running Backs...

Posted by: Flattuca | October 7, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

If Portis had stayed in Denver and not complained about his rookie contract, he would probably be considered among the best ever.

Posted by: Section104 | October 7, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Portis is not a "tough" back. He never has been, and never will be. He looks for the ground early, and always has. That's not a new phenomenon. Hit him hard early in a game, and he shuts it down. He will NEVER, NEVER be a guy to lower his head at the two yard line and try to run someone over to score. THAT is the sort of back that "sacrifices" for his team, and Clinton has never been that sort of back. He's soft with great speed (or at least he used to have great speed). Give him a big hole to run through, and he'll give Chris Berman something to scream about. Give him a challenge, and forget about it. Put the Steelers or Ravens defense in front of him, and he shuts himself down EVERY time.

The Redskins will be much better off on offense when they worry more about real football players and less about flashy highlight reel divas. You'll all realize this when they replace him with someone with way more passion for the game, and who doesn't shrink from contact.

Posted by: Reality9 | October 7, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Reality9, one can only assume from your post that you have not watched a Skins game in at least 7 years. That is the only conclusion one can draw from your comments.

Posted by: Barno1 | October 7, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Maybe Riggins will like him more once he is assured that the record isn't broken. They both were very good backs in their era. Riggins is legendary around here and thogh I'm a CP fan he would never reach icon status around here much like Steven Davis.But that shallow feeling about the record if Riggins is holding that just seems extremely stupid to me.

Posted by: Hackersk | October 7, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I was all set to write something,then read Reality9's comment and realized I couldn't agree more...AMEN.
Comparing Clinton Portis to John Riggins...did Portis ever say "Give me the ball,I'll carry you ?"

"Portis is not a "tough" back. He never has been, and never will be. He looks for the ground early, and always has. That's not a new phenomenon. Hit him hard early in a game, and he shuts it down. He will NEVER, NEVER be a guy to lower his head at the two yard line and try to run someone over to score. THAT is the sort of back that "sacrifices" for his team, and Clinton has never been that sort of back. He's soft with great speed (or at least he used to have great speed). Give him a big hole to run through, and he'll give Chris Berman something to scream about. Give him a challenge, and forget about it. Put the Steelers or Ravens defense in front of him, and he shuts himself down EVERY time.

The Redskins will be much better off on offense when they worry more about real football players and less about flashy highlight reel divas. You'll all realize this when they replace him with someone with way more passion for the game, and who doesn't shrink from contact.

Posted by: Reality9 | October 7, 2010 11:20 AM | "

Posted by: petebowling1 | October 7, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I've seen plenty of Redskins games. Portis is talented and has highlight-reel ability. He doesn't display the toughness or heart that would set him apart. I've seen him try to dive under piles and fall short of first downs or the goal line countless times, I've seen him go down untouched, I've heard him lament his workload in pre-season because he got injured. There is a very, very real "me" aspect to his game and his mindset that keeps him from doing more. And THAT is the real shame...

Posted by: Reality9 | October 7, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

All Fall at the Altar of John Riggins!!! Some of you are like a bunch of bobby-soxers at a fifty's sock hop about Riggins. John Riggins had a HOF offensive line,a HOF wide reciver, a HOF head coach,and an excellent QB.Clinton Portis will never be what some of you want because CP is playing in a different era CP's getting paid and yes Riggo's a little jealous. CP has played hard he just isn't what some of you want, i like him he's on my all time Redskin list he block's and he runs hard and by the way, Riggo wasn't a workout demon either and Portis never deserted his team for a season like John did, the reason why Portis doesn't get the love is because the Skins underachieved not CP's fault that would be one Daniel Synder.

Posted by: dargregmag | October 7, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Talking about tough Redskins running backs then you have to talk about Larry Brown!

Posted by: richs91 | October 7, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I take it Reality9 has never seen CP block (one of, if not THE best blocking RB in the NFL), or his running just last week. Ever seen him pick up a blitz? He's a monster. Yes, he has had questionable training camp/pre-season habits, but come game time has always been a gamer. He has done great things for this team for the past six years, and deserves much more credit that Reality9 gives him.

Posted by: fmcromwell | October 7, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

You know why Portis doesn't deserve the record?

Because when adversity hit instead of supporting his teammates he called them out in the media.

When it comes down to taking criticism Portis lets things roll off his back by placing the blame on others.

No one should respect that.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | October 7, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Riggins was the diesel... He got his yards the HARD way. And all those HOF players? Most were no names and cast offs that Beathard found. They all earned their stripes together and created something that never existed here before. No disrespect to CP, but he could never replace Riggo. EVER.

Posted by: Maauc | October 7, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Riggins could ever run for 1500 yards behind the NFL's worst offensive line the way Portis did in 2008. I loved Riggo as a player, but I just don't think he was ever quite as good as Portis has been.

Posted by: Barno1 | October 7, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

no steiny. it wasnt "pretty much a foregone conclusion". running backs can go over the hill in an instant. and usually do...

Posted by: slim4 | October 7, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Let me preface this by saying Riggins is my favorite Redskins....but I can't help but pick this to pieces.


Portis is talented and has highlight-reel ability.

-- Besides his first run, what "high-light reel" ability has he shown?

He doesn't display the toughness or heart that would set him apart.

-- Have you ever stood up an unblocked D-lineman? LB? Safety with a ten yard running start? Ask McNabb (or Campbell) if Portis has toughness or heart. This is a joke.

I've seen him try to dive under piles and fall short of first downs or the goal line countless times, I've seen him go down untouched, I've heard him lament his workload in pre-season because he got injured.

-- I've seen him run between the tackles b/c the team asked him too. Has he gone down too easily now and then? Sure.

There is a very, very real "me" aspect to his game and his mindset that keeps him from doing more.

-- Ah yes, sprinting downfield to block...no LEVEL, someone for Fred Davis was very selfish. Changing his running style (and body) to accomodate the team? Definitely selfish. So is his dedication to pass protection. Running backs always get the accolades (sp?) for that.


I'm not sure whether you have ever played football or whether you think what he does is simple b/c your teammates on Techmo Bowl and Madden do it so easy....but I do not believe you understand the sacrifice and toughness Clinton displays.....and this makes me sad that you are a Redskins fan.

That is all.....carry on....

Posted by: fushezzi | October 7, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

4th down and 1 yard to go. Who would get the carry Riggins or Portis? IMO, RIGGO EVERY TIME!! The man may be getting older and nuttier but he had a game mindset that Portis could never match!

Posted by: vexed50verizonnet | October 7, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Live and let live: Riggins had his time. He was a great running back but at the same time he was absolutely surrounded by Hall of Famers on the offensive line as well as at many other positions. He was also a drunk and is currently a hyprocrite. He criticizes many of the current athletes for doing some of the same things he did - really much less!!

Portis is a little nutty and often times has not been in the best shape but he's been a very good running back!! A very willing blocker who gives his all on the field. They've both accomplished a lot but Riggo clearly played with players who were a lot better. Portis never got drunk and found himself on the floor slobbering profanities at a supreme court justice that I know of........

Posted by: Lugene11 | October 7, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

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