On Wednesday of this week, the Washington Redskins placed running back Clinton Portis on the injured reserve list with a groin injury. The move effectively ended Portis's season, and Ryan Torain and Keiland Williams will continue to handle the majority of carries in the Redskins backfield for the rest of the season.
This season has been the second disappointing campaign in a row for Portis. The former Miami Hurricane played just five games this season after only eight games last season.
It seems that the wear and tear of being an NFL running back has caught up with Portis. While he is only 29 years old, Portis had had four seasons of 325 carries or more out of his seven seasons with Washington.
In his first five seasons with Washington, Portis was the centerpiece of the Redskins organization. In four of the first five seasons he had with Washington, Portis exceeded 1,500 total yards rushing and receiving combined. He also average nine touchdowns per season over those first five seasons.
The last two seasons have been a different story as a variety of ailments have kept Portis on the sidelines rather than on the field. Portis has played just 13 games over the last two years and has been limited to 178 carries. While Portis still demonstrated terrific athleticism, power, and agility when he played, his durability issues have understandably become an issue.
After Portis's contract was restructured back in 2008, his last year of guaranteed money fell in 2010. Consequently, Portis will either take a large pay cut to stay with the Redskins or will be wearing a new uniform next season, perhaps both.
The pros of keeping Portis may not outweigh the cons for the Redskins. Firstly, Ryan Torain demonstrated some of his ability to be a featured back with two 100-yard games earlier this season. Additionally, Keiland Williams has displayed some strong running over the last few games replacing the injured Torain.
Another factor could be that teams may be more willing to take a chance on a talent like Portis than Washington who may have grown tired of his durability and fumbling issues over the last few seasons.
Additionally, Portis will start the 2011 NFL season as a 30-year-old, ancient especially considering the mileage behind him. While certainly some team may be willing to take a chance that he could return to form, the Redskins will want to see what Torain and Williams can do over a full season.
Sadly, the Washington chapter of Clinton Portis's career has likely come to an end. Portis still holds the single-season rushing record for the Redskins for his 2005-2006 season when he ran for 1,516 yards. His 6,792 rushing yards trails just John Riggins who had 7,472 rushing yards as a Redskins running back.
Likely, the Portis era in Washington is over. Too bad it had to end like this.
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