With his career in Washington likely coming to an end after this season, Clinton Portis has never been given the credit he deserves for what he has accomplished in his career with the Washington Redskins.
Traded to the Redskins in 2004, shortly after Joe Gibbs' return, many people criticized the trade at the time and have continued to criticize it since. Sure, giving up Champ Bailey and a second round pick for Portis was a steep price, but Gibbs wanted a stud running back, and that is what he got.
On his first carry as a Redskin he ran 64 yards for a touchdown en route to a victory. In 2005, with the Redskins' record standing at 5-6 and needing to win five straight to get to the playoffs, Portis delivered every week. He had five straight 100-yard rushing games and carried the team to the NFC divisional round.
After an injury-plagued 2006 season, Portis returned in 2007 to rush for 1,262 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown in Week 17, where he blew through the Dallas defense and flipped into the end zone, essentially sealing another playoff trip for the Redskins. In 2008, he carried the team to a 6-2 start, before his offensive line fell apart and Jim Zorn’s play calling was figured out by the rest of the league.
During his career in Washington, the Redskins are 21-5 when he runs for over 100 yards. He is as important as any player on the roster. He was a locker room leader during the Sean Taylor tragedy, and always plays hard when he was on the field.
As a fan that never got to enjoy John Riggins and Larry Brown, Portis will always be one of my favorite Redskins players. Not for silly costumes, even though they were great at the time, but for transforming his style to fit the offense. Changing from an open field sprinter to a between-the-tackles bruising back is something not many players would do for their team.
Portis currently has 6,824 rushing yards in a Skins uniform, placing him second all time on the Redskins career rushing yards list behind only Riggins.
His pass blocking is better than any running back I have ever seen. I know I am biased, but honestly find me someone better. Fans argued that Ladell Betts was a better player for years, but he was never able to duplicate what Southeast Jerome did.
After aggravating his groin injury this past Sunday in Tennessee, Portis might never play another down in Washington. He probably rushed back because he wanted to help his team so badly. He was averaging six yards a carry when he left the game.
While his mouth got himself into trouble occasionally, Portis was always honest, never sugarcoating how he felt and always came from the heart. He spoke the same way he played, 100% from the heart.
I hope Clinton comes back in the next few weeks, and knowing how tough he is, he probably will. Either way, all Redskins fans should enjoy their last few weeks with No. 26 in the Burgundy and Gold. With all the turmoil and drama in the past few years, Clinton has always been there on Sundays playing his tail off.