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Portis staying with Redskins?

2/5/2010

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Because of his ties to the Bucs organization, new Redskins general manager Bruce Allen has a lot of friends across Florida. On Thursday, he dropped by radio row at the convention center for a quick visit with ESPN 980.

Allen has been politely vague about the Skins' future to this point, but he indicated on "The John Thompson Show" that the club hopes to move forward with running back Clinton Portis. He acknowledged that Portis and coach Mike Shanahan have spoken.

"We're looking forward to seeing Clinton help us win," Allen said Thursday.

Obviously, that didn't come across as some type of ringing endorsement. From what I hear, Shanahan wants to measure Portis' commitment to the offseason program before he's ready to make a definitive statement. He's made it clear from his first news conference that Portis needs to take care of his body more than ever as he approaches his 30s.

And the running back also has some fences to mend with his teammates after making some negative comments about quarterback Jason Campbell immediately after the season.

But no matter what, I think the Skins will look to draft a running back in April. They desperately need a talented young back to push for playing time. And if you're going to keep Portis, it would be nice to have someone fight him for a starting job.

I bumped into ESPN's Adam Schefter on Wednesday and we talked about what the Skins plan to do with that No. 4 overall pick. He has known Shanahan for years and he insists that it is not a given the coach will opt for a quarterback. Here's what Allen said:

We have a little time on that. We really have enjoyed the process so far of lining up our draft board. Our college scouts are in Washington right now, meeting. We've got our full coaching staff together, so it's an exciting time for us.