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Arrival of Shanahan changes things for Portis

During his introductory news conference Wednesday afternoon, new Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan offered a not-so impressive evaluation of star running back Clinton Portis - whom Shanahan traded to the Redskins in 2004 after two impressive years in Denver.

In his first two seasons in the NFL, Portis established himself as one of the top running backs in the league, rushing for 3,099 yards and 29 touchdowns. Still, Shanahan traded Portis to Washington for cornerback Champ Bailey and a second-round draft pick.

Denver didn't miss a beat; the Broncos continued to rush effectively without Portis. In three of the next five seasons, the Broncos had a running back with more than 1,000 yards and never averaged fewer than 4.4 yards per carry in a season.

Portis, meanwhile, rushed for more than 1,250 yards in four of his first five seasons in Washington - he had just 523 yards in 2006, when he played in just eight games - but after starting the year strong in 2008, Portis faded down the stretch rushing for more than 100 yards just once in the final eight games.

This season, Portis rushed for just 494 yards and one touchdown before his season because of a concussion. Portis was criticized for not practicing during the week, and some believe the running back may be on the decline. He also has come under criticism in the Redskins locker room for receiving preferential treatment because of his close relationship with owner Daniel Snyder, recently sparring publicly with quarterback Jason Campbell.

When asked to evaluate Portis on Wednesday, Shanahan did not exactly offer a ringing endorsement.

"It's hard to say that right now I've got to go back and look at all the film," Shanahan said. "Just to watch a game and not be around Clinton in the offseason program, not watch him on a day-to-day basis would not be fair to him, would not be fair to you, me judging him. I think like all players as they get older I think the key is how they work in the offseason program. What they do to make themselves better, as all veterans.

"I've been around some veterans that have been very successful and all of a sudden they quit working out and as a running back you can fall of a cliff. If you make a commitment that you're going to be the best that you can possibly be or you've got passion, you've got the work ethic to be as good as you possibly can be then you've got a chance to be something special.

"Looking at Clinton a year ago in the first half of the season you could see how well he played. And to say that right now with the injuries and what's happened would be obviously premature at this time. But I do love his toughness, he was obviously very, very productive when he was at Denver."

Portis is one of only six Redskins believed to have guaranteed contracts for next season. He last renegotiated his deal in March 2008, receiving a signing bonus of almost $9.4 million. Under the terms of that deal, in addition to the signing bonus, Portis will have been paid more than $2.35 million in salaries and bonuses by the end of this season. Most of Portis's 2010 base salary of almost $7.2 million is guaranteed, and he is also due roster and workout bonuses totaling about $507,000.

Many in the league believe 2010 will be an uncapped year, but the current system and its rules are in place while the NFL and NFL Players Association negotiate. If the Redskins were to release Portis before June 1, 2010, they could face a cap hit of as much as $14.8 million, according to league sources familiar with Portis's contract and the Redskins' cap situation.

The Redskins also have "offset" language on the guaranteed portion of his contract. If Washington released Portis and he joined another team next season, the Redskins would receive a credit against his guarantee for any additional salary.

On Monday afternoon, several players criticized a locker room in which certain players received preferential treatment and in which there was a lack of discipline and accountability. Portis' friendly relationship with Snyder has stirred resentment in the locker room because he rarely practices.

The running back made headlines Tuesday during a radio interview by calling out quarterback Jason Campbell for a lack of leadership on the heels of a season in which he rushed for just 494 yards and one touchdown and missed eight games. Campbell fired back in an interview with the Post, though later Tuesday night he said the two had spoken and agreed to move on.

Shanahan also touched on the recent public spat, hinting at it with an answer about personnel during his press conference and then directly responding to the recent comments afterward with writers. [Sally Jenkins writes on the matter today.]

"I think, in time, what I'll do is talk to the football team," Shanahan said. "We'll talk about, hey, if we've got some problems or some business, we'll keep it inside the organization. I understand how that happens, but what you have to do is you have to talk about these problems before they happen. They happen all the time. But some organizations, they don't happen [publicly]. Other organizations, they do. I think players will get the message that the Redskins will stay together."

By Paul Tenorio  |  January 7, 2010; 6:57 AM ET
Categories:  Mike Shanahan  
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Next: Shanahan works on assembling his staff

Comments

NEWS FLASH:

By now, few would argue with the fact that CP26 is a lazy, selfish me-first, over the hill, out of condition, worthless excuse of a player who somehow managed to bilk the Redskins out of $7+ million this past season for approximately 6 or 7 partial days of work -- exclusively on game days -- in exchange for a little over 400 yards of mostly meaningless offensive production -- over the course of an entire year.

But now he's trying to outdo even himself – with unbridled and brazon arrogance -- and the complete alienation of teammates and fans alike -- with a continuing series of transparently aggressive and insubordinate behaviors that are forcing many inside and outside the organization to call for his early release from his contract.

The method in his madness: by doing so, CP26 figures he can still make $5+ million in the 2010 season -- but for doing absolutely as little, if anything, as possible.

CP26 insinuated as much Tuesday during his much publicized radio interview on the local ESPN affiliate when he said: "I used to want to be that guy, but now I don't. It's about me going to work and getting the job done and going home happy. All that other stuff is trying to be a captain or a leader or control everyone else. I can't control everyone else. In 2010 what Clinton Portis needs to do is go out and give everything I've got on the field and lead by example and go home with a smile on my face."

And the damndest thing about it is that he'll probably get away with it too!


Posted by: Vic1 | January 7, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

The method in his madness: by doing so, CP26 figures he can still make $5+ million in the 2010 season -- but for doing absolutely as little, if anything, as possible.

Posted by: Vic1 | January 7, 2010 7:33 AM


If that's his method, it's still madness...I'm pretty sure when you get cut, there's no more checks coming your way. The only thing guaranteed is the signing bonus and whatever workout/roster bonus in the contract. So even though Portis would still be on the books for cap purposes, he wouldn't actually be getting any real money from the team anymore.

At least that's how I understand it.

Posted by: brownwood26 | January 7, 2010 7:37 AM | Report abuse

A couple of things. I think if Portis wants to be here next year, he'll show Shanahan the effort and off-season commitment he wants. Portis knows he can produce in the type of running game Shanahan utilizes, and he'll want to show his critics wrong IMO. Also, I listened to the John Thompson's show yesterday. Thompson was very upset at how the comments Portis made was characterized by other media. Thompson said Portis' comments we're in defense of JC suggesting that other teammates lessen the load JC is carrying. Thompson went so far as to tell Shanahan that very thing yesterday. Anyhow, we'll know early if Portis is doing the things he needs to do. I get the senes everyone on this team will be on a short leash.

Posted by: TWISI | January 7, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Portis needs to go. This team needs to rebuild, and if you're not part of the solution here, you're part of the problem. And problems need to be gone.

Out of the 4 RBs I saw play this year, Portis was the worst. Damn the cap hit; if this coming season is truly uncapped, it won't matter. Let him go, roll with Ganther/Rock combo (unless of course someone in the draft steps up). Shanny has made lesser backs than Ganther/Rock into productive players, we can certainly go with those guys for a year until something better comes along.

Posted by: brownwood26 | January 7, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

My Dauphine,
The business model where we give you money and our eyeballs and you give advertisers those eyeballs lured in by worthwhile snippets of text sometimes called 'articles' rests on the premise that the articles represent a large, professional organization dedicated to delivering a qualitatively superior product. So, when Sally claims "...Daniel Snyder, in an obvious attempt to be discrete, if there is such a thing as obvious discretion...", it strikes me that I can get that kind of quality from the Hamster Nation comments section.

Posted by: daggar | January 7, 2010 8:02 AM | Report abuse

It may be too late, but Soup finally has some fire. He needed it earlier, and I think that the team needs a kick in the rear
.

Posted by: moosepod | January 7, 2010 8:02 AM | Report abuse

If that's his method, it's still madness...I'm pretty sure when you get cut, there's no more checks coming your way. The only thing guaranteed is the signing bonus and whatever workout/roster bonus in the contract. So even though Portis would still be on the books for cap purposes, he wouldn't actually be getting any real money from the team anymore.

At least that's how I understand it.

Posted by: brownwood26 | January 7, 2010 7:37 AM |

They said his 2010 contract was guaranteed.

Posted by: scampbell1975 | January 7, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

The great part of an uncapped year isn't who you can sign, it is who you can cut without any future impact.

That puts Portis right in the cross hairs.

John Thompson's comments that Portis was defending Campbell mean that in addition to being the worst host in the history of sports talk radio, he is either a liar or completely delusional.

Posted by: clchapman | January 7, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't let CP go until I saw how his injuries have healed up, how much effort he put into the off-season etc. Ganther/Rock are good #3 or #4 backs. They give great effort, but they aren't hard to defend. The Skins need to draft a young stud RB to compete with CP and Betts. Maybe Hillis would be another option if the Broncos let him go. Like Shanny said, either CP has falling off the cliff, or he was hindered last year by his work ethic and injuries. If it's the latter, then CP has a few more years in him.

Posted by: TWISI | January 7, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

John Thompson's comments that Portis was defending Campbell mean that in addition to being the worst host in the history of sports talk radio, he is either a liar or completely delusional.

Posted by: clchapman | January 7, 2010 8:07 AM

Really? I plan to listen to the radio interview. Have you heard it?

Posted by: TWISI | January 7, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

Can someone explain to me how you can have a "cap hit" on a year that has no cap?

Posted by: timchadwick | January 7, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

They said his 2010 contract was guaranteed.

Posted by: scampbell1975 | January 7, 2010 8:03 AM


True...but didn't it also say that he'll get less if he's picked up by another team?

Either way, I don't care what it costs...if it's the same if he's here or gone, I pick gone. Especially if low cost RBs are taking his place in an uncapped year. God knows Archeleta got cut for a helluva lot crap than Portis is dishing out and if he wants out I say let's give it to him. Addition by subtraction and what not.

I'd even buy trading Haynesworth for picks and/or players who don't hobble off the field every other snap.

Posted by: brownwood26 | January 7, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

John Thompson's comments that Portis was defending Campbell mean that in addition to being the worst host in the history of sports talk radio, he is either a liar or completely delusional.

Posted by: clchapman | January 7, 2010 8:07 AM

Really? I plan to listen to the radio interview. Have you heard it?

==================
i heard it...it was pretty clear that portis was bashing JC17...no question about it

i think the only reason coach thompson was upset and defending portis is because he's a weekly guest on the show and wants to stay on good terms...seems more political to me

everyone knows what portis really meant by his comments

Posted by: AhsanFamily | January 7, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

I really don't share the vitriol that most of you have for Portis. I hope that he gets healthy, gets inspired to put in the work and comes back strong coupled with a change of pace/3rd down back like Chester Taylor.

Posted by: chrislarry | January 7, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Can someone explain to me how you can have a "cap hit" on a year that has no cap?

Posted by: timchadwick | January 7, 2010 8:24 AM |

There isn't, it becomes just a number. But it can lessen the cap hit for the next year.

Posted by: scampbell1975 | January 7, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

i'm willing to bet $100 to anyone i've met already, up here. that JC will not be here next season and portis will be.

any takers among those i've met at least once?

Posted by: dealer1 | January 7, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

think the only reason coach thompson was upset and defending portis is because he's a weekly guest on the show and wants to stay on good terms...seems more political to me

Posted by: AhsanFamily | January 7, 2010 8:26 AM

Thanks. I didn't hear it so I can't really say. This part of your post doesn't make sense to me. Why would Thompson have to be on good terms with CP. It's not like CP is doing the show for free? Moreover, I'm sure Thompson could get another RB, like the snitch Cartwright, or player to come on his show. He was able to get JC to do the show yesterday.

Posted by: TWISI | January 7, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

True...but didn't it also say that he'll get less if he's picked up by another team?

Either way, I don't care what it costs...if it's the same if he's here or gone, I pick gone. Especially if low cost RBs are taking his place in an uncapped year. God knows Archeleta got cut for a helluva lot crap than Portis is dishing out and if he wants out I say let's give it to him. Addition by subtraction and what not.

I'd even buy trading Haynesworth for picks and/or players who don't hobble off the field every other snap.

Posted by: brownwood26 | January 7, 2010 8:26 AM |

I agree except with the Haynesworth thing. I have a feeling that most of his shananagins (Shanahanagins?) won't fly for long here anyway. Haynesworth can be the most disruptive force in the league if used properly/ I'll take that, even if it's only half the time.

Posted by: scampbell1975 | January 7, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Maybe Clinton Portis could return punts!

Posted by: Sports_Guru | January 7, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

we are dealing with a professional now, in shanahan. it's been a long time since we saw one atleast one in dealing with personnel issues at skins park.

ask yourselves this question what does he have to gain by bashing portis? and what does he have to gain by praising JC?

there's an old saying you chide/scold your own. and he just scolded portis. and praised jc. is JC's work in the past 5 years so praiseworthy that he would go out of his way to praise him? why would he do that? because he's trying to sell him. he's gonna pump and dump.

Posted by: dealer1 | January 7, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Beep Beep

Posted by: Flounder21 | January 7, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Y'know what? I'm calling the Mayor out!

What bent do you have against CPo?! Did he stiff you on interviews? Was he an SJK to you personally?

I'm not saying there isn't alot to be upset w/ Portis about in general, but every time this topic comes up, RI blog takes the negative slant on Crisco.

Rotoworld has some much more objective outlooks. And while you bring up clubhouse scuttle against Portis, you don't bring up Cooley's re-phrasing of the exact same sentiments Clinton was espousing, albeit in a not so subtle manner.

Nor do you bring up where in the same interview how Portis sung the praises of Soup; his toughness and determination.

Finally, when I see/read Coarch's comments RE Portis I don't see damming words from above, I see an announcement of opportunity. Basically that it's not fair to pre-judge, let's see what he does in the off-season. Sounds pretty realistic to me.

I just hate the pile-on mentality. It's worse than the Portis big-mouth... and it's a little chicken-sjk.

Other than that... great coverage! ;-]

Posted by: DikShuttle | January 7, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

I just had to throw away $30 filet mignon leftovers that were in the fridge too long and were starting to smell...14 mill cap hit ot not, Portis has to go.

Posted by: kone | January 7, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Haynesworth can be the most disruptive force in the league if used properly/ I'll take that, even if it's only half the time.

Posted by: scampbell1975 | January 7, 2010 8:35 AM


You'll excuse me if I'm not excited about a guy who gives minimum effort for maximum pay.

If anyone is even giving up a 2nd rounder for this guy, I take it in a heartbeat. With an uncapped year, it's either dump him now or do it 4 years from now when the cap situation (if there's still one) gets dire. It's about time this team started getting rid of certain guys a year early instead of a year late.

Posted by: brownwood26 | January 7, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Regardless if Portis practices or not, I'd take him all day over Ganther. He should have kept his mouth closed, but Cooley said the same thing Portis did, he just said it better. How can JC lead a team when everyone on it knows the organization has tried and wants to get rid of him? most of the hate Portis is getting is not from his most recent comments, but from those here that just think he is over the hill. Shanahan will do what he needs to do, and Clinton will report back to camp in great shape. I personally think he shut it down on purpose after the concussion cause he knew Shanny was coming and wanted to save himself. And for those that forgot, he did EVERYTHING Gibbs asked him to do and more so a good coach will get good results from him. Don't let the Jim Zorn debacle form your lasting opinion of Portis.

Posted by: dolemite1 | January 7, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

@ dikShuttle:
I said the exact same thing man. I'm amazed at how everyone on here loves to count other peoples money. would the Clinton hate be less if he made 500k instead of what he makes currently? it's amazing how much the truth gets some riled up, cause nothing Clinton said was a lie. I don't blame JC, the organization has underminded him so much under Danny/VC, but he has a chance under Shanny to be great.

Posted by: dolemite1 | January 7, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Portis needs to go. This team needs to rebuild, and if you're not part of the solution here, you're part of the problem. And problems need to be gone.

Out of the 4 RBs I saw play this year, Portis was the worst. Damn the cap hit; if this coming season is truly uncapped, it won't matter. Let him go, roll with Ganther/Rock combo (unless of course someone in the draft steps up). Shanny has made lesser backs than Ganther/Rock into productive players, we can certainly go with those guys for a year until something better comes along.

Posted by: brownwood26 | January 7, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse
_________________

Portis was not the worst of the 4 RBs that played this year; in fact, he was the best. His YPC and total yards led the team.

I think alot of people on this blog (I'm not specifically calling out brownwood26) have developed something of an irrational attitude towards CP. Yes, he's kind of a diva, but people are quick to forget that he was, and probably still is when healthy, the team's best weapon. He carried this team for years, and in my opinion is still capable of doing so. Also, while his words about Campbell weren't exactly eloquent, were they really that far from the truth? Cooley said something fairly similar and no one flaming him?

Posted by: skinsfan713 | January 7, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

just had to throw away $30 filet mignon leftovers that were in the fridge too long and were starting to smell...14 mill cap hit ot not, Portis has to go.

Posted by: kone | January 7, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse


14 mil buys ALOT of $30 filet mignon dinners

Posted by: scottmando1 | January 7, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

My take is this - Portis is a lazy bum who only wants to play on Sundays because it feeds his ego. He thinks he is larger than the team and carries himself that way..his lack of attention recently got the best of him and he had to shoot off the mouth like the ass that he is...That being said - now that there is some true authority at redskin park that he will have to answer to - i think he will prepare and carry himself in a much better way than we have seen so far. I think he is capable of being the dominant back that we saw just a little over a year ago if he gets his lazy ass in shape and practices like a professional - if that doesnt happen, cut him and be better for it, 14 mil loss or not.

Posted by: scottmando1 | January 7, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Betts/Ganther/Cartright is the WORST case scenario for the Redskins next year. Betts is not close to Portis' level of skill. If he was they would have never traded Champ Bailey. Ganther is slower than Tracee Hamilton and Cartright is too small to be a consistant RB. Portis and his 14 million are coming back this year UNLESS:

1) Kyle Shanahan brings Steve Slaton with him somehow.
2) Mike decides to give Campbell yet another chance and drafts Spiller or Ingram #1
3) Portis or Snyder dies

- Portis speaking up about Campbells leadership skills may have been just what J.C. needed. So before we jump on him for it, why not sit back and watch?

Posted by: wewbank1 | January 7, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Jason Campbell WILL BE the skins' QB next season. Clinton Portis will remain a skin, but won't be allowed to skip practice anymore.

Posted by: postwell1 | January 7, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Shanny will never draft a RB with the #1. Hopefully he wont draft QB with #1 either, Draft O-line with #1 then pick up QB for down the round later in draft, give Soup a year or two more. Draft RB later in draft, bring CP back, trust me he will be busting his a$$ now that there is a new sherrif in town.

Posted by: BleedBurgandGold | January 7, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I see other options wewbank.....

You can keep 1 of Rock/Ganther/Betts as a backup, pick up someone decent and young who has starting experience but wont be expensive once the teams' normal starters come back from injury (e.g. Jason Snelling), and then pick up a good mid-round draft prospect.

Posted by: mac2j | January 7, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I think Portis relaizes how much effort and work he has to put in - regardless of his endorsement for Shanahan - that he does not want to do it, and he may not even be able to do it if he wanted to. If he can work that hard again, it will be for one season - then he will quit to go to a team he can coast on - retire - or be cut. Portis doesn't have enough left to work that hard unless for one season trying to prove himself one last time. RB's with GREAT SPEED are great for 4-5 years max.

Posted by: PinotNoir | January 7, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

In my opinion, the Redskins hold on to players too long. Other organizations would have gotten rid of players like Portis, C Rogers, Moss, Smoot, Randy Thomas and Cornelius Bennett by now. I heard a rumor that the Skins were trying to trade for Chester Taylor of the Vikings! Now, that's what I'm talking about!

Posted by: tryumpfant | January 7, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

People who need to leave DC:

1. Cerrato - done
2. Zorn,Blache,et al - done.
3. Arenas - almost
4. Portis - please go
5. Haynesworth - ditto.

Posted by: cmterpsnskins | January 7, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

This is my idea for the running backs. There's a rumor that an ultra quick RB who plays for the Saints might be playing in his last few games for them. Also there's a RB entering the draft from Stanford University who would be pretty good. So as your 1-2 punch in the 2010 Redskins backfield, how about Reggie Bush as your speed back and Toby Gerhart as your power back. Thoughts?

Posted by: Alleyezon4 | January 7, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

"The Redskins also have "offset" language on the guaranteed portion of his contract. If Washington released Portis and he joined another team next season, the Redskins would receive a credit against his guarantee for any additional salary."

PLEASE STOP OFFENDING US WITH THIS PARAGRAPH. I've seen it used a few times on RI, and it needs to stop.

Unless a team pays Portis *more* than he's already guaranteed (won't happen), Portis can make no more than he's already guaranteed, leaving teams that sign him with no incentive to pay him more than the minimum. Nor is there any rational incentive for Portis to ask for more. He's going to make the same cash if the new team or the Skins pay him.

Sheesh, seriously? RI is great, but that "Skins get offset cap relief" drivel is truly tripe.

Posted by: WorstSeat | January 7, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

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