Clinton Portis' injury-filled 2010 season signals the end is near
Updated: November 24, 2010 - 01:44 pm
- Clinton Portis has almost 10,000 miles on his odometer. Mike Shanahan might be looking to trade him in for a newer model. (Photo: Associated Press)
There’s always the possibility, of course, another team will give Clinton a chance next year – just as the Redskins did, briefly, with Alexander in 2008. But he’ll have to swallow his considerable pride, play for a lot less money and, in all likelihood, be willing to accept a diminished role similar to LaDainian Tomlinson’s with the Jets.
Every time Portis carries the ball now, there’s the sense it might be The Last Time. The life of a 9,923-yard-old running back is that tenuous – especially when he keeps missing large chunks of seasons (eight games in 2006, another eight in ’09 and 11 this year when all is said and done). As Clinton hunted for holes against the Titans, you could practically read his thoughts: “How much do I dare push this injury? Can I really go full throttle, or do I have to dial it down?”
All too soon he had his answer: You’ve got about a dozen snaps in you, buddy, and then it’s back to the hyperbaric chamber.
The pathos. I mean, here’s Portis reunited with the coach with whom he had his greatest success – 1,508 rushing yards as a Broncos rookie in 2002, 1,591 more the next year – but after seven seasons as a tackling dummy for the Redskins, he just isn’t the same back anymore. A play will be called, he’ll know exactly what he has to do, but he won’t be able to make his body do it, not like he could when he was 21 or 22. How many Backs of a Certain Age can?
Maybe Portis will play in the NFL again, maybe he won’t. Injuries like his can be tricky – and lingering. (Just ask Capitals goalie Semyon Varlamov.) It would be a shame, though, if Redskins fans couldn’t give Clinton a proper farewell. He deserves that much for the miles he’s gained, the blitzers he’s waylaid and the punishment he’s absorbed. But as we’ve seen with running backs – more than we’d care to – deserve has nothing to do with it.
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