When the Washington Redskins released running back Clinton Portis on March 1, 2011, the curtain came down on one of the most mercurial, memorable careers in team history.
His was truly a shooting star—sometimes brilliant, often frustrating, never ordinary.
Yes, there have been colorful characters in burgundy and gold before. Troubled defensive end Dexter Manley springs to mind; as does legendary Hall of Fame running back John Riggins. But none have ever outshone Clinton Portis.
Redskins fans will definitely remember his presence on the field; perhaps more so in time, as his career settles slowly into the rear view mirror and historical perspective.
Few running backs of his era have been more adept at finding small seams in defenses arrayed to stop him—the byproduct of an often inept passing game during Portis’ seven years in Washington—and bursting into the defensive secondary.
Few have also been as frustrating once arriving there. In recent years Portis was increasingly, frustratingly, unable to make that one final, open-field move and beat that one remaining defender between him and the goal line. The money move—the move that turns big gains into a game-breaking scoring plays.
Few running backs in league history, let alone Redskins history, have ever been more physical. Portis introduced a generation of local fans to the concept and value of a reliable, sometimes brutish, backfield pass blocker.
Of course, at the end of the day, what history truly measures running backs by are numbers. Cold statistics. In that light, Clinton Portis shines...
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