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Washington Redskins: Thank You, Clinton Portis

LANDOVER, MD  - DECEMBER 30:   Clinton Portis #26 of the Washington Redskins does a somersault into the endzone as he scores a first quarter touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys on his way to a touchdown on December 30, 2007 at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Tom NataliCorrespondent IAugust 22, 2012

What is there to say about Clinton Portis? He has some friends; he also has some enemies. He’s been a premier running back in the league, and he’s also struggled with his health.

That all being said, Clinton Portis is retiring today and should be considered one of the best Washington Redskins of all time or at least of this generation.

Some will remember him as Southeast Jerome or Sheriff Gonna Getcha. Others will remember him for his first-ever carry in a Redskins uniform; here’s a reminder.

Some will remember him calling out his offensive line or fullback Mike Sellers. While others will remember him for putting the team on his shoulders for their two most recent playoff appearances (with one on a heavy heart after the death of his closest friend and teammate Sean Taylor)

To me, it’s the latter. I’m 25 years old, so technically I was alive for two Super Bowl victories. However, I was way too young to remember them. Therefore, I’ve basically witnessed disappointing seasons in my duration as a fan, and the same can be applied for fans who are around my age and younger.

So now that you know my story, two of my fondest memories were the Joe Gibbs-coached 2005 and 2007 teams. Both of which defied the odds and snuck their way into the playoffs.

It was nothing special, other than the fact that Clinton Portis completely took over. Say what you want about his unenthusiastic approach to training camp or how he would always fall down. During those two playoff seasons, Portis wanted it more than anyone else on the football field.

Besides his rushing attempts, he was the NFL’s best pass blocker—by far. How many multi-millionaires, Pro Bowl-caliber, workhorse running backs would willingly give up their body like Portis would in his blocking. He took pride in it. I actually think he could become a solid fullback if he wanted to.

Tired and fatigued, Clinton seemed to be running on pure adrenaline. Opposing defenses were preparing for the run, and they still couldn’t stop him.

If you want to look at CP statistically, as a Redskin he’s second all time in total rushing yards trailing only Hall of Famer John Riggins. He’s third in rushing touchdowns, and he’s first and second in single-season rushing yards.

For those who don’t know their NFL history, the Redskins have been around since the 1930s. So for Portis to be that high on the list is pretty remarkable.

What about all of his characters? Some thought it was a distraction or egotistical. I thought it was hilarious. NFL players are put on a pedestal in our society (as they should be), but Portis acting like a fool humanized him.

He showed the lighter side of the locker room, and the Redskins were winning while he was doing it. The fact that he was able to stay in character the whole time made it even funnier to me.

While this is a very pro-Clinton Portis article, I’m not disputing some of the controversial things he said. That was a mistake, even though all of his complaints were correct: Jim Zorn was a “genius,” his offensive line did suck, Mike Sellers did put on a poor effort at times and Jason Campbell wasn’t the leader that he needed to be.

Does that make it okay to go public with those statements? Absolutely not, but he’s also not the first athlete to do such a thing.

In conclusion, I want to thank Clinton Portis. I want to thank him for giving me something memorable as a Redskins fan. We haven’t had a lot, but the performances he had and the sheer determination he showed is something that will remain with me.

To be honest, I was kind of surprised to hear the news that Portis wants to retire a Redskin, but that’s what is so special about him, this team and the fans.

Despite not accomplishing anything substantial and being released from the 'Skins, Portis still feels D.C. is home to him. So I can only hope the Redskins organization puts Clinton Portis where he deserves, and that’s in the Ring of Fame.

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