In Appreciation of the Great Clinton Portis

portis-bust-2.jpgFolks seem to forget that Clinton Portis carried his team, our team, on his back and into the playoffs two of the past four seasons, and that he was the NFL’s leading MVP candidate halfway through this season. It’s a shame, really, because he’s probably going into the Hall of Fame as a Washington Redskin.

I made this same post last year, but 1,487 more yards, nine more touchdowns and four more alter egos later, it’s time to recalibrate his standing among the greats; this time through seven seasons:

Most rushing yards, first seven seasons

  1. Eric Dickerson: 11,226
  2. LaDainian Tomlinson: 10,650
  3. Barry Sanders: 10,172
  4. Emmitt Smith: 10,160
  5. Walter Payton: 9,608
  6. Jim Brown: 9,322
  7. Curtis Martin: 9,267
  8. Edgerrin James: 9,226
  9. Clinton Portis: 9,202

Most rushing touchdowns, first seven seasons

  1. LaDainian Tomlinson: 115
  2. Emmitt Smith: 108
  3. Shaun Alexander: 96
  4. Jim Brown: 82
  5. Eric Dickerson: 82
  6. Earl Campbell: 73
  7. Barry Sanders: 73
  8. Jim Taylor: 73
  9. Clinton Portis: 72

Most alter egos, first seven seasons

  1. Clinton Portis: 16
  2. Everyone else: 0

Any way you look at it, that’s impressive. Every other player named here, except for maybe Shaun Alexander, is either in Canton or on his way there. At the relatively young age of 27, Portis is top-30 all time in both total rushing yards and touchdowns and top-five in yards/game.

The thing is, he’s bound to tail off. Of the 11 other running backs listed above, only Tomlinson, Smith, Martin, James and Brown went for 1,000-plus yards in his eighth season. Only Smith, Payton, Martin, James and Brown went for multiple 1,0000-yard seasons after his seventh season.

In 2008, for the fourth time during his five years in D.C., Clinton Portis carried the ball over 320 times. It was a lot.

Image via Deadspin, which recognized Portie’s greatness long ago.

19 thoughts on “In Appreciation of the Great Clinton Portis”

  1. Portis should be tailing off beginning next year. Not so much in productivity, but in tolerance from coaches and other players.

    He’s always running his mouth about something, and while he’s accurate to an extent, the Redskins would rather ship him out than have him fueling blog supernovas for the next 3-5 years.

  2. Those stats speak for themselves, but his case is also boosted by the fact that he’s an outstanding blocker and one of the best at picking up the blitz.

  3. He’s also fifth all-time in scrimmage yards per game, for whatever that stat’s worth. It’s another impressive list, anyhow.

    1 Jim Brown 125.5
    2 L. Tomlinson 122.5
    3 Barry Sanders 118.9
    4 Walter Payton 111.9
    5 Clinton Portis 111.1

  4. It’s my opinion that the variables mentioned here in the comments — mouthiness, blocking and receiving — have an overall positive effect on Portis’ impact. But of course it is, because I love the guy.

  5. “I’d say that’s a fairly extreme exaggeration.”

    Well, he has a weekly radio show and media time after practices, so I’d say its not too much of an exaggeration. But a lot of what he says is positive.

    Personally, I love Portis, but I didn’t care for him battling with the coach this past season. Some things should be sacred. Call out your OLine, call out your D, call out your QB, but the coach should be off limits IMO.

  6. I like Clinton how I like Gilbert:

    They’re entertaining on and off the field/court and closer to great than good players. But both are overpaid, and neither will ever lead their respective team to a title*.

    However, if I was a blogger, it doesn’t get better than these two.

    *please prove me wrong

  7. He is negative a lot when the team is struggling, but as I mentioned, the majority of his public assessments are accurate.

    And that’s the problem. Leave the bashing to the media and fans, but you as a team member don’t always have to join in the fracas.

  8. I don’t see that as a problem. In fact, as Jamie mentioned, I like when he speaks out, as long as his assessments are accurate and he isn’t throwing anyone under the bus. His comments about Zorn following his benching in Cincy is the only time I can recall him going over the line — or even coming close to crossing it.

    I’d rather hear what our star player really thinks than some cliched bullshit response.

  9. 1. There’s no one better at throwing people under the bus than Portis. Except maybe Zorn.

    2. It’s okay to hear what he thinks. But as often as he’s willing to give it out, it gets kind of annoying. Lose two games, and he’s ready to jump on Zorn, jump on the offensive line, jump on Campbell.

    Do we really care that much about his opinion or his output? Especially if his opinion can damage the chemistry and output of others on the team?

  10. I’d love for you to provide some examples of him throwing people under the bus. And yes, I really do care that much about his opinion. You and I aren’t in the locker room, so until I hear another player say he has damaged this chemistry you speak of, I’m not buying that shit for a second. That’s the same thing as when King Douche Adam Best claimed Portis wasn’t a leader. What the fuck do we know about who is/isn’t a leader, or who builds/destroys chemistry?

    As far as I can tell, the team loves him and recognizes him as the best player on the offensive side of the ball.

    Also, he didn’t speak out about Zorn because they lost two games. This was after an epic second-half collapse and being benched without any explanation. That doesn’t make it right, but there’s a slight difference than the way you described it.

  11. It does stink that his first 2 years with Denver were statistically also his best. Seems to be a running trend w/ most the players we trade/get via free agency.

  12. Examples of Portis as the Metro Bus Operator:

    1. On the O-line:

    I really don’t have to get into the Zorn stuff. That’s documented enough. My point is not whether Portis has the right to say things, it’s that is doesn’t need to. Everything Portis has said, we already knew to be true. Why the need to repeat it?

    Does it help the team play better? Apparently not. Does it help Redskins fans deal with the truth any better? Absolutely not. You or I wanting or not wanting to hear it doesn’t make it acceptable to do in his role as a team member.

    It’s like if the Sporting Blog had Jay Marriotti, and you wrote a post about how lame Jay Marriotti is. Your readers know it. So how does the SB improve by you blasting it? You might get a lot of comments in your favor, but what does that mean to the ultimate output of you and your employer?

  13. I am sorry I am late to this. I saw that pic and all I could think was “Clinton Portis, Hall of Fame or Bust”

    Also, The Alter Ego statistic might be wrong. Do Herschel Walker’s problems count towards this statistic?

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