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Thursday, November 25, 2010
Thoughts on Clinton Portis' career

By Matt Mosley

The Washington Redskins made it official Wednesday -- placing running back Clinton Portis on injured reserve after he tore an abdominal muscle against the Tennessee Titans. Coach Mike Shanahan doesn't think Portis' career is over, but it's hard to imagine him playing for the Skins next season unless he's willing to restructure his contract.

"I don't think there's any question about it," Shanahan said. "He's got such a strong will. It all depends on does he come back a hundred percent? Does he want to come back and play? He's got that inner drive that most people don't have. He wants to compete. But obviously, he's got to get well."

Former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs may have been Portis' biggest supporter over the years. He once became emotional while explaining to me how fearless Portis was on game days. But the issue that coaches and fans had with Portis over the years was his unwillingness to commit to the team during the offseason. He often returned to Miami instead of participating in the club's conditioning program. And that may have caught up with him in recent years. Portis stayed in Washington this past offseason to prove his commitment to Shanahan, but he still ended up on the IR for the second time in the past three seasons.

Mike Wise of the Post has a good column Thursday talking about how Portis grew up after losing his close friend and teammate, Sean Taylor. I've taken issue with some of the things Portis has done during his Skins career, such as calling out quarterback Jason Campbell, but the leadership he showed in the aftermath of Taylor's death was pretty remarkable. And that will be a big part of his legacy in Washington.