The Light at the End of Clinton Portis' Tunnel Vision

Jarrett CarterAnalyst INovember 20, 2009

ATLANTA - NOVEMBER 08:  Clinton Portis #26 of the Washington Redskins against of the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on November 8, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Maybe you wanted Clinton Portis to go down as the greatest running back in Redskins history. You wanted the hi-jinks, personalities and outspoken nature to have amounted to more than media distraction amidst bad ownership and underperformance on the field.

But the looks for both Clinton Portis and the divided perspectives on his career are coming into a haunting focus.

His place as one of the greatest running backs of all-time will go quietly into the record books with only passing whispers of post-season success to accompany them.

His presence as a Washington sports hero will melt away in yet another season of free agent signings and turnstile coaching decisions.

News of a serious concussion keeping Portis out of this weekend’s all-important rivalry game with Dallas weren’t met with the “woe is us, woe is the remainder of the season” from Redskins fans.

In fact, you are more likely to find ever-warming reception of Portis’ back-up Ladell Betts than mournful gasps for Portis’ absence. 

More startling, while somber national discussions are being held on the severity of concussions, even with the Pro Bowl running back of a divisional rival, the same hushed tones aren’t reserved for Portis.

Not because he’s particularly indestructible or throwback enough to espouse a “I’m playing no matter what” philosophy. Deep down, most people don’t revere his contributions to the team.

The signs of the wheels falling off were in place well before this potentially-career ending injury.

Not just a bum knee, or dinged ribs; dissent with coaches and teammates were early indicators of the exchange of a Hall of Fame running back for a Hall of Fame corner back becoming what many Redskins faithful anticipated it to be.


Portis has become a man shrouded in his own vision these days. He has been ardent about the team’s struggles being solely attributable to the lack of player execution, often by his lonesome.

His unbridled perspective has become noticeably more subdued, and while he hasn’t been regularly disruptive with his new role to the right of the center of attention, he certainly doesn’t strike you as the type that would thrive outside of the spotlight.

His outlook on his team, our outlook on him; both views are crystal clear. And the vision is not one that anyone would’ve been prepared for just a few short seasons and disguises ago.

Clinton Portis’ time has run its course in Washington. And maybe, as a professional running back in the NFL.

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