(photo by Brian Murphy)
It’s almost like Clinton Portis can’t help himself. He sees Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas or his former coach Mike Shanahan stealing all of the local headlines and can’t help but try to stir up drama to get some attention back on him.
During his weekly segment with John Thompson, the Washington Redskins running back had some not-so-flattering comments in regards to quarterback Jason Campbell.
“No disrespect to Jason, but everybody in that locker room can tell you, you’ll never see Jason mad, you’ll never see Jason’s tempo change, you’ll never see Jason get mad,” Portis said. “He going to get up, dust himself off, he going to give you everything he got. But as a leader, you never heard – it was always, ‘Jason couldn’t take control of the huddle,’ or he didn’t do this or he didn’t do that. That wasn’t Jason’s character.
“I think Jason, you can’t place so much on somebody who’s not ready for that situation,” Portis continued. “I think Jason has enough trouble in getting the plays in and worrying about this, compared to controlling the huddle and making sure, ‘Oh, we do this and we do that.’
Well, once word got out that Portis had badmouthed one of his teammates, you can guess how happy other Redskins were with the diva running back.
“Clinton can be one of the elite running backs in this league,” said a teammate who asked that his name be withheld. “I mean, he has definitely shown that throughout his career. But as you get older, you can’t just not practice and think you’re going to perform on Sunday. That’s not how the game goes. Plus, with the uncertainty with the offensive line this year, he got frustrated and said some things about how we’re not running the ball well and about the blocking. Sometimes you’ve got to look at yourself. Even though the guys were banged up and a lot of other guys had to come in, they all practiced. They practiced their butts off. They may not have been the best talent money can buy, but you can be damned sure they’re going to give you everything they’ve got. You can rely on that.
“And for C.P. to fire off on Jason, that’s not right. He’s always out there at practice,” he continued. “Lord knows he took some hits. He took some hits to the point where I thought he was done for the year, but the thing about him is, he rose up like a man and kept on taking it. That shows a lot of integrity on his part and we’re very thankful for that.”
We’re glad to hear that Campbell’s effort didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates. Turning back to Portis though, there have been rumors for a long time about him getting special treatment …
“With Clinton, it’s not a big secret. Everybody knows he doesn’t practice,” the player said. “And then he fires off on someone. You’ve heard people say, ‘Well that’s just C.P. being C.P.’ So what? Does that excuse him for his actions? It shouldn’t. It shouldn’t because there are 53 guys on the squad. Why should one man be different?”
At that point we suggested that maybe, with the team about to name a new head coach, this would be the ideal time to remove any locker room distractions in hopes of getting everyone else on the same page as the team tries to rebound from this 4-12 disaster.
“Yeah, for sure,” he said. “I’m sure they’ll evaluate that. There are guys you can rely on when it comes to winning. I was talking to one of the guys this week about how you look at chemistry on a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers – they don’t have many big-name superstars. They come to work on time and they show up ready to play. That’s what football is really about. You don’t need big stars. You just need guys to put their egos aside and to be there when you need to count on them to get it done. I’m sure they’ll focus on that because honestly, we don’t need that distraction. The media will run with that and then it will become an even bigger deal.”
We then asked what players think when they hear one of their teammates is running to the owner in an attempt to circumvent the coach’s authority.
“We don’t need that,” he said. “You can’t do that. You’re making yourself an individual. Why should you be special? That’s one thing I’ve never understood – why does one man feel like he’s above everybody else? That’s not right. You’re undermining your coach. Whether you like the man or not, you’ve got to show a level of respect. For you to go over the coach’s head and go to the owner – that’s really childish. It’s like having two parents and saying to dad, ‘Mom said I couldn’t do this, but can I anyway?’ You just can’t do that.”
At that point, we were able to get another player to share his take on the situation, as long as we promised to also withhold his name.
“I thought it was bad,” he said in regards to Portis’ comments on Campbell. “I mean, he ain’t even been in the huddle. I think Jason is doing the best he can with what he’s working with. He had an offensive line that was banged up and beat up, and I think he handled the situation really well. I think it’s bad when you throw Jason under the bus like that when he’s out there giving it everything he’s got. I’ve never seen that huddle in disarray. I’ve seen coaches on the sideline not getting the plays in on time and having to call a timeout, but I’ve never seen Jason panic or anything like that.”
We heard from more than a few players that the week after the Atlanta game was the best week of practice this team had all season long simply because one huge distraction wasn’t around.
“Yeah, yeah, I heard that too. I heard a lot of guys say that,” he said. “Honestly, several players said that the offense ran more efficiently because he wasn’t there. Lots of guys were talking about how much better the offense was without him. And when you’ve got guys saying stuff like that, there’s something wrong.
“Clinton’s always been the type of guy to speak freely and say what’s on his mind, but I think he’s got to be ready when it comes back at him,” he continued. “Jason can’t just sit around and keep taking that. Not when he’s out there every day and we’re talking about guys who aren’t even out there with him most of the year.”
So let us ask you – is this team better off without Portis and all of these continued distractions?
“Any team would be better off without it,” he said. “You can’t just go around throwing people under the bus. If it wasn’t Mike Sellers about missing blocks and trying to get him pulled from the game, it’s always something else. Every time you feel like things aren’t going your way you feel like you’ve got to go to the media or on the radio? That’s just got to stop. This team already has enough distractions. We need everyone to be able to focus and just play football. Last year, it was all that stuff with B-Mitch [former Redskins star Brian Mitchell]. It’s just always something with him.”
“You’ve got guys who fought through adversity all season long and he wasn’t even there,” he said. “He didn’t come to meetings. He wasn’t on the sideline with us when we were going through these rough times. And if he did come, he left by the third quarter. You never saw him around the facility or anywhere. For him to go out and throw Jason under the bus, what kind of teammate are you?”
You can’t ask Redskins players to be any more clear than that. They’ve dealt with Portis and his tiresome act long enough.
Here’s the thing – since his first day in burgundy and gold, Portis has been one of our favorite players. Hell, we liked him enough to use his likeness in our banner at the top of our website. But we simply cannot get behind a player who continually puts himself above his team and throws his teammates under the bus just so he has something to talk about during a weekly radio segment.
When healthy, Portis is clearly one of the top 10 running backs in the NFL. But at this point, we can’t help but think it might be best for everyone involved if the next time Portis takes the field, he’s wearing a different team’s jersey.
January 6, 2010 at 6:00 am
Clinton needs to go elsewhere this next season…hopefully Shanahan sees this…
January 6, 2010 at 6:11 am
This is just one more thing to lay at Snyder’s feet. The lack of class CP displayed is simply the fruition of years of poor management by Snyder. Years ago, when he first pulled this sort of stunt, CP should have been told that the coach was his boss, not the other way around. Instead Snyder let him get away with it, not because he doesn’t know how to be a boss, but because Snyder is still impressed by big name players with big egos. Dan, CP is the sort of pus you create when you allow situations like this to fester, unaddressed. If you say you learned something from your time as the owner, fix this.
January 6, 2010 at 7:54 am
Uncapped year = Dump his a$$! He’s a “me” guy…..time to get rid of the “me” guys. He can take Laron Landry with him. If you don’t practice or show up to OTA’s – be gone!
January 6, 2010 at 9:27 am
Great Blog Murph. I really enjoyed this read and your take is spot on as usual.
January 6, 2010 at 10:12 am
I think you are right on. I think if you want to rebound from a season like this year, some of the major players have to be changed. We’ve done that with Cerratto and Zorn so far, now it’s time to change some of the on-field chemistry. I had Clinton Portis on my fantasy squad for two seasons and the majority of his injuries were a complete joke. Every week it was, “did not practice, questionable for Sunday.” But amazingly, he would always be ready for game time when there was some potential glory to be had. We had a coach that let him get away with it. I wish Jim Zorn the best because I think he is a man of humility and dignity, but with his treatment of Portis alone, he certainly seemed to be a pushover. I just don’t think I can be as excited about Redskins football as I would like to be until there is someone in the backfield besides Clinton Portis.
January 6, 2010 at 11:29 am
These quotes are quite damning, but coupled with the attributed quotes from Campbell himself absolutely blows the roof off the whole Portis saga. It’s clear, now, that Portis cannot remain with this team. Great work as always, Murf.
January 6, 2010 at 11:40 am
Shanahan doesn’t need CP, and knows how to find talent and establish a running game making almost any back look good. What has Portis done since leaving Denver? Some good, but nothing spectacular. I don’t think Shanahan will put up with him – indeed, he got him out of Denver after Portis began airing compliants through the media.
January 6, 2010 at 11:43 am
Um … in the last 30 minutes I’ve found out my Portis story was linked by ESPN.com, and now I just got an email from the producer of SportsNation informing me that my website will be their “Site of the Day.” Tune in to ESPN2 at 4 p.m. today to see the segment. Holy hell. This is nuts.
January 6, 2010 at 11:49 am
Murph- nice recognition for many years of service to the Redskins and fans.
Way to go!
January 6, 2010 at 11:50 am
Who started this with CP?……….Joe did around practicing and it went from bad to worse with a weak sister like Zorn. Primadonnas are cancer in the locker room. Better watch out for ‘fat albert’ too.
January 6, 2010 at 12:41 pm
“When healthy, Portis is clearly one of the top 10 running backs in the NFL.”
Is that a joke? Seriously?
He’s not even close to Top 10. You could probably make a case that he’s not Top 20. Definitely lost a step, doesn’t have the pop or wiggle he used to have. Too much mileage, too many carries…he’s washed up.
January 6, 2010 at 1:33 pm
Excellent information. Just checking out this site directed from PFT. You are right on and I’m glad Jason gave it back to Portis. I had questioned Jasons’ fire for the game when it came to leadership. After seeing what he went through this year…..he has mad respect from me. Portis must go and think he will. I thought two back systems were the norm these days in the NFL.
January 6, 2010 at 1:57 pm
CP’s behavior has been, to some degree, camouflaged by Snyder’s much larger “Circus of Dysfunction”. It’s no surprise that Clinton’s teammates are speaking up during an interlude between administrations … if they hang on to him going forward, maybe folks believe that he will take some of the flak to heart, and change his behavior.
However, CP is not known for his self-awareness.
Congrats on being recognized, murf!
January 6, 2010 at 2:05 pm
On redskins.com I posted before the last two seasons started how the players DO NOT LIKE PORTIS and we need to get rid of him!!! Because I know some players personally and every blogger bashed me! Im so happy to finally see the truth come to light! The reason we are not good is because we have ME players who skip meetings. Remember what haynesworth said when he was sent home for being late? He said “at least I was only late twice there are guys on this team who come late 2 hours and nothing happens to them.”
Now that speaks volumes for this team when its obvious players come late and suffer NO consequences. Its time we get Team players and forget star players!
HAIL to the redskins
January 6, 2010 at 2:56 pm
I don’t know what’s worse, Portis or the players who refuse to identify themselves.
January 6, 2010 at 4:38 pm
Reading this, and I’m thinking CJ Spiller looks good as the #4 overall pick…
January 6, 2010 at 7:51 pm
Obviously teammates are not the only people tired of the CP drama.
January 6, 2010 at 10:37 pm
It should be obvious that Portis does not want to be with the Redskins next year. The reason jerks like him do this stuff is because they want to be cut so they can go to the team of their choice. I would LOVE to see Shanahan bring him back, then sit him on the bench the entire next year. Make him run on the scout team. Anything but letting him get in the game.
January 7, 2010 at 12:38 pm
Put Portis on the same bus as Arenas and get them both out of town. Put Haynesworth on that bus too. We don’t need him get paid $100 million to play 60% of the time, lay on the turf 30% of the time and trashing coaches the rest of the time. Please dump Haynesworth too.
Thank God we have Ovie or this town would totally suck. Let’s go Caps!