ASHBURN, Va. (CBSDC) — One the most colorful players in Washington Redskins history officially retired Thursday.
An emotional Clinton Portis bid farewell to the game as Washington’s second-leading all-time rusher and 27th on the NFL’s list.
He finished his career just 77 yards shy of the elusive 10,000-yard mark. Even if were to eclipse it, the outlandish characters such as “Southeast Jerome” and “Sheriff Gonna Getcha” would have left the most lasting impression.
Indeed, for all of his on-field accomplishments, it was his various characters and controversy that are forever remembered by Redskins Nation.
In 2002, Portis was drafted by Mike Shanahan and the Denver Broncos in the second round out of the University of Miami. He was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press and Pro Football Writers of America.
The following year he earned the first of two career Pro Bowl selections.
In 2004, the Broncos traded Portis to the Redskins in exchange for Champ Bailey and a second-round draft pick.
On his first regular season carry, the artist who would become “Kid Bro Sweets” carried the ball 64 yards for a touchdown.
On November 21, 2010 he gained three yards on a run out of the shotgun formation. He would never touch the ball in a NFL game again.
Somewhere in-between those first and last carries he managed to pick the Redskins up from the devastating loss of Sean Taylor. Washington went on an improbable four-game tear to finish the season 9-7 and capture the final Wild Card spot.
One week later they fell to the Seattle Seahawks. Shortly thereafter the Joe Gibbs, whom Portis says is among his favorite people in the world, retired.
“The game was never the same after that,” Portis said referring to the death of Taylor.
He’s unsure whether his statistics will be good enough to get him a bust in Canton, but Portis didn’t seem like a man who would kick up a lot of dirt if he didn’t.
“If they could add an attribute for heart, I’d be in,” he replied when asked about his Hall of Fame future.
Although enshrinement in Canton is not a sure thing, owner Daniel Snyder did reveal the running back will be named as one of the 80 Greatest Redskins in history.
Portis jokingly recalled his first encounter with Mr. Snyder at an ESPN event. He had no idea who the Redskins owner was when they first spoke, but Snyder’s words would forever resound in his mind.
After voicing concern that the Broncos wouldn’t pay him what he deserved, Snyder told Portis not to worry about the financial aspect of the game and to play with his heart.
One year later he was playing in Washington with a new eight-year, $50.5 million contract.
Clinton Portis Press Conference Audio