Clinton Portis Drank Hennessy with Sean Taylor, Santana Moss Before Games

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2017

Washington Redskins Santana Moss (89) and Clinton Portis (26) celebrate after Moss converted a 4th down reception for 8 yards and a first down to clinch their win late in the 4th quarter during their NFL game against the New Orleans Saints at Fedex Field in Landover, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008. The Redskins won 29-24. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

Former Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis said he would drink a shot of Hennessy cognac before games with teammates Santana Moss and Sean Taylor.

Portis discussed the tradition during an interview alongside Moss with NBC Washington's Carol Maloney, which comes at the 50-second mark of the clip below:

The Washington Post's Dan Steinberg transcribed Portis' full comments:

"Prior to the game, on our way, we would take a little shot. ... Not like going out and getting sloppy wasted; just adrenaline. You know, you take a shot and you were done with it. Me, Santana and Sean, we did this for a year and a half before anybody knew. We never told anybody. It was just, hey, here’s a little sip, bam, that was it."

According to Portis, the ritual wasn't an issue until Jim Zorn replaced Joe Gibbs as the head coach in 2008. Moss and Portis explained how Zorn's decision to make the tradition a larger topic of discussion led some players to lose faith in his leadership.

Moss recalled in particular how he took umbrage with Zorn framing the tradition in honor of Taylor, who died in 2007, and not something the trio had enjoyed prior to Taylor's death.

"He just kind of lost a lot of us," Moss said. "He said that, and that kind of lost us together when it came to him. Like, 'Man, he spoke of that name wrong.' You know, that's kind of like a low blow. Like, don't bring his name up in that way, you know what I mean? That's wrong."

Portis hasn't been shy in the past about airing his grievances with Zorn, who left Washington after two seasons.

The team was 4-12 in 2009, and Portis said later he thought Zorn put too much of the blame on him for the Redskins' overall struggles. The two-time Pro Bowler also said in October 2015 that he believes Zorn's religion drove a wedge among some players in the locker room. Portis claimed Zorn gravitated toward players who shared his passion for the Christian faith and used religious overtones in his speeches to the team.