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Thursday, October 7, 2010
In defense of Clinton Portis ...

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins has read the opinions that Clinton Portis (groin) won't be missed that much in the Redskins' offense, and she thinks that's ridiculous. Jenkins came up with some interesting numbers regarding the punishment Portis has absorbed for the Skins. She thinks we shouldn't be so quick to dismiss the 29-year-old running back.

"Portis has earned some criticism for divalike behavior, like his occasional ingratitude to his linemen and quarterbacks, and for playing overweight," writes Jenkins. "But lack of toughness isn't one of his failings. Overall, he's probably given as much to the Redskins physically as he has taken financially. If you're inclined to resent his salary of almost $7.2 million this year, try to remember that. Even former coach Jim Zorn, who was often frustrated by him, said that when Portis is on the field, 'Your head better be on a swivel. Somebody is gonna get knocked down.'

"Remember that in four seasons, he has had at least 320 carries. Remember that he ran for a club-record 1,516 yards in 2005, alternately avoiding tacklers with suave cuts and knocking them down like bowling pins. Remember how he dislocated his shoulder in a preseason game with the Cincinnati Bengals, when launched into a tackle, trying to stop an interception return. Remember how just two weeks ago against the Houston Texans he raced half the length of the field to explode on a block and open a pathway for Fred Davis, resulting in a 62-yard play."

The only thing in Jenkins' column I disagree with is the part where she says Portis was "smart" to miss a lot of practice. I don't think players take a lot of punishment in practice these days, and all those absences sort of caused Portis to lose standing in the locker room. And it also doesn't help when you call out teammates.