The Cincinnati Bengals have worked out veteran running back Clinton Portis in response to the news that current starter Cedric Benson could miss three games due to a suspension, according to Jason La Canfora of the NFL Network. The Bengals would be wise to lock up Portis on a one-year deal.
Benson has always been a volume runner. He's never averaged more than 4.2 yards per carry during his career and needed more than 300 carries to reach 1,250 yards in 2009. His workhorse tendency has made him a valuable back despite the lack of explosiveness.
Portis gained 5.5 yards per carry in each of his first two seasons in the league. The 563 carries during the time span took its toll on him and he never topped 4.3 again.
At this point for Portis, who is basically on the brink of retirement, he won't be able to handle the entire load. That said, he'll be a nice insurance policy for the Bengals alongside Bernard Scott and Brian Leonard.
With Andy Dalton still in the early stages of his progression, the need for a consistent running game to take pressure off him is paramount. That was illustrated on Sunday when a nonexistent running game led to two interceptions and a 40.8 quarterback rating for the rookie.
Portis has made the rounds and would be a good veteran presence in the locker room for the young Bengals. His days as “Southeast Jerome” are over and he's just trying to latch on somewhere for a couple more paychecks. If it means being a mentor to younger players, he'll do it.
There were rumors linking the Bengals to another player who likes the spotlight, Terrell Owens, during the preseason, but nothing came of it due to Owens' ACL injury. Most fans weren't in favor of the move anyway because of the aging WR's reputation.
They shouldn't feel the same way about Portis. He'd be nothing more than a depth addition and he'll be told that going in. His days as a media hog are over.
Even if it's just for a month while Benson serves his suspension and gets back up to speed, signing Portis would be a good move for Cincinnati.
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