Campbell to Beast: Don't count out Portis


Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

In his exclusive interview with the NFC Beast on Wednesday, Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell sounded off on several topics, including the status of injured running back Clinton Portis. I applaud you guys for sending in some excellent questions for Campbell, at least two of which were used on the radio.

Portis told "The Michael Irvin Show" on Wednesday that he wouldn't have been able to play Thursday -- even if it were the Super Bowl. But Campbell's learned not to count Portis out.

"Just knowing Clinton, knowing the toughness that he has, I don't ever cancel him out until like right before the game," said Campbell. "He's always a guy who even when he doesn't practice all week, he's going to show up ready to play on Sunday. That's just his nature and mentality. We always look at it, you're never going to be a 100 percent when you play in the NFL, Sunday to Sunday anyways, and Clinton always understands that.


"If he can go and play with pain, he'll do it. But if it's something that's to the extreme and something that can carry over or cause future harm, if he's threatening it by playing, then we have to sit him down and he won't play. He's such a tough guy, it's hard to even determine at this standpoint this early in the week."


Campbell had a chance to clear his head over the bye week by visiting Disney World with his girlfriend and the Chris Cooley family.


"We went to a couple theme parks and got on a couple rides. I wouldn't think that Cooley's big self would be scared of rides, but there were a couple of rollers coasters that had him hollering. I said, 'you get hit by linebackers in space, and you're hollering on a roller coaster?'"


But Campbell and Cooley were only following orders from their head coach. Jim Zorn encouraged players to spend time with each other -- and to reach out to family members that haven't heard from them in a while.


"One thing [Zorn] said was call the ones you love because during football season you don't have much time to communicate with a lot of people," Campbell said. "Call them and let them know you've just been busy. He also wanted us to do something with our teammates. Something fun but not anything out of the extra ordinary, and stay out of trouble. Stay out of trouble, and not surround yourself with the opportunity to get in trouble. And he wanted us to rest up, and he said some of our houses might be all messed up and need cleaning. I cleaned my house a little bit before I got ready to leave town."


That's right, folks. The Redskins did some housecleaning over the bye -- literally. Campbell has spent this week breaking down film of the Cowboys' defense. You might recall Campbell leading the Redskins to a win over Dallas at Texas Stadium back in October.


"[The Cowboys] look like two different teams from the earlier part of the year," said Campbell. "Lately when they played against Tampa Bay, I saw a defense that was flying around making plays and feeding off each other's energy."


Campbell felt like Santana Moss' hamstring injury was still nagging him against the Steelers, which basically eliminated the deep threat. And left tackle Chris Samuels wasn't himself after sitting out the Detroit game with a knee injury. If Portis is anywhere close to healthy, the Redskins will win the game Sunday. But I'm not sure a combination of a banged up Ladell Betts and a washed up Shaun Alexander can get the job done.


For now, Campbell is just hoping an opposing team's crowd doesn't take over FedEx Field again. The sight of about 15,000 Terrible Towels is still fresh in his mind.


"It was shocking to look around and see that many Pittsburgh Steelers fans in our own stadium," Campbell said. "That's the purpose of playing home field, you know, to have home-field advantage and use the crowd noise against the opponent. But I'm pretty sure Pittsburgh felt like it was right at home and wasn't threatened by it because they had so many fans in our own stadium. That's something we can't allow to happen."


In fact, Campbell said that players have been using the media to encourage season-ticket holders to refuse offers from Cowboys fans. But he knows it might be a losing battle in an area that's always had its fair share of Cowboys fans.


"We want everyone to come out and be in full force, be supportive," he said. "But you can't tell anyone what to do when they own something."