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Clinton Portis

Clinton Portis’ Early Retirement

As recently as 2008, Clinton Portis was pretty awesome. Just last October he was the Redskins’ starting running back. Now, one year later and seemingly as healthy as a 30-year-old with 2,230 career carries can be, he’s probably finished. The timeline:

Nov. 24, 2010Portis goes on injured reserve with a groin injury. We give our thanks later that day.

Feb. 28, 2011The Redskins release Portis.

Aug. 19, 2011Portis works out with the Patriots.

Aug. 23, 2011Portis works out with the Dolphins.

Aug. 31, 2011Portis works out with the Seahawks.

Sept. 1, 2011 — Portis turns 30.

Sept. 20, 2011Portis works out with the Titans.

Sept. 27, 2011The Bengals give Portis a physical.

It’s been five weeks of Internet silence since then. The season is halfway over. If 26 was going to get a job, he probably would’ve gotten one by now.

In hindsight, that makes perfect sense. He’s washed up, and he’s been washed up for almost three years. But I didn’t totally realize that.

This is a personal problem I’m aware of. I pay such close attention to my teams that I don’t know what’s happening in the leagues all around them.

If you’d asked one year ago if Portis should still be a starter in the NFL, I would’ve said, “No, but he’s still got something left. I bet he could be a second back on a good team, like LaDainian Tomlinson with the Jets.”

The truth is, though, that Portis isn’t Tomlinson. Hell, he isn’t Tashard Choice, apparently. What he is is long gone. And the saddest part may be that the Skins aren’t even much better off without him.

D.C. sports fan and digital media guy that's been doing this since 2004. Once threw a football further than Chris Cooley.



  1. d$

    November 3, 2011 at 1:03 PM

    I agree with most of this but I think Portis’s big personality — which totally made him a hero when he was a starter — is hurting him a bit. I think that he’d be considered for a low-usage RB2 or 3 position but he could be a distraction for a roster.

  2. ben

    November 3, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    I think I remember reading he had some poor workouts with some teams in the pre-season. Might have been a casualty of the lockout to some degree.

    A few weeks ago I saw somewhere that he had a good workout with the Titans, but was not signed. After hearing that, I almost thought it made sense for them to bring him in for a look after the Hightower injury just to see what kind of shape he is in. Would maybe have been a bit humbled, knows the offense, we know he can block, would certainly be fresh and rested etc. However, I quickly shuffled that idea away as silly.

    Also, I remember thinking Skins are already pretty flush at RB (Helu, Royster, Torain). Then they signed Choice – who is already gimped up.

  3. ThisGuy

    November 3, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    You know, according to the footballoutsider metrics, he was pretty productive with his limited action last season.

    His running metrics put him in the top 15ish in DVOA (granted, limited touches), and his receiving metrics even better (still, limited touches).

    Maybe he hasn’t bothered to stay in good enough shape. Maybe his groin hasn’t fully healed. Maybe, as d$ suggests, his big ego precedes him.

    Personally, I think it’s more a sign of how replaceable RBs have become. What coach or GM would pick Portis on the downslope over cheap, fresh young legs with upside?

  4. phil wagner

    November 4, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    Another stupid trade that the Redskins made: Champ Bailey for Portis. This team hasn’t been worth a crap since Mr. Cooke died. Just a revolving door of washed up stars. Too bad Danny boy wasn’t smart enough to have kept Marty, but those two big egos could never survive in the same universe.

  5. jim cohen

    May 3, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    being a Skins fan im partial to Portis. looking back now it seems stupid we traded him for Champ but Portis gave us an offense almost by himself for a about 4-5 years solid in Washington.

    I agree with 1. comment. It is definetly at this point his personality that killed him. If he could accept a team is signing him for a veteran backup role and eaze up hed be ok. The Pats would be a good fit for him.

  6. jim cohen

    May 3, 2012 at 11:44 PM

    and honestly #4. Were starting to turn the corner. Orakpo, Kerrigan, RG3, Helu, F Davis. We have a young core these days with the few exceptions.

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