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Friday, March 12, 2010
Shanahan counting on Portis to be a leader

By Dan Graziano

On Monday, new Redskins coach Mike Shanahan is hoping for perfect attendance at the start of the club's offseason conditioning program. And that means that running back Clinton Portis, a big fan of the South Beach offseason program, is expected to show up at Redskins Park.
"Oh, I guarantee you Clinton will be there," Shanahan said Thursday evening at a Redskins charitable event. "I know Clinton too well. He'll be there and kick off the offseason on the right note. I want my leaders to be there, and hopefully we'll have 100 percent participation and if not, I'll be disappointed."

The conditioning programs around the league are technically voluntary, but we all know that players who don't attend are "technically" eligible to be released at some point. I'd be surprised if Portis misses Monday's first session. In fact, I'm sure that Shanahan has stressed the importance of the program to Portis, who is coming off an injury-plagued season. He's reportedly been cleared by concussion specialists to resume football activities.

Shanahan also expressed his admiration for disgruntled cornerback Carlos Rogers and free-agent running back Larry Johnson, who is at Redskins Park today visiting with coaches.
"Obviously I've watched him from afar for years," Shanahan said of Johnson, who played in the same division as the Broncos while with the Chiefs. "I coached Larry in the Pro Bowl. I like Larry. I'm a big fan of his."

Shanahan is aware of the Skins' reputation for going after big-ticket items in free agency, but he reiterated Thursday that the club won't rush into things.
"We have a game plan and it takes time," Shanahan said. "We've got a plan; it's not going to happen overnight. We just have to watch the plan take place. But we're going to try to get better every day."

So far, the Redskins have added a versatile offensive lineman in Artis Hicks, a blocking tight end in Sean Ryan and an enormous nose tackle coming off a serious injury in Maake Kemoeatu.