By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 8, 2006
His colorful costumes turned each Thursday last year into his personal comedy routine, but Clinton Portis yesterday played a role he didn't particularly enjoy.
"This is the first Thursday you're going to see me injured and hopefully it will be the last one," said Portis, who suffered a partial separation of his left shoulder in the Washington Redskins' first preseason game against Cincinnati. "Today, I'm the Injured Man. But, hopefully, we can change things. I want to get back on the field as soon as possible, and try to help my teammates."
Lacking both an outrageous outfit and also the Redskins uniform and pads worn by virtually all of his teammates, Portis was subdued. He did everything but rule himself out of Monday's regular season opener with Minnesota.
"It's real frustrating because of the excitement of having the first Monday night game, seeing your teammates and going 0-4 in the preseason and not playing well," he said. "To get on the field and prove to everyone that that was preseason and it doesn't matter. Our goal is to get into the playoffs and hopefully the Super Bowl. If we do that, the hell with the preseason."
Portis said he would like to take the decision of whether he will play right up until game time, but added that he could not consider playing in a limited capacity.
"I'd like to take that shot, but at the same time I have to do what's best for this team. T.J. [Duckett], Ladell [Betts] and Rock [Cartwright] are working hard enough to get us to this point and it's not right for me to just jump in and try and take over after what they've done. I still need to get back into football shape."
Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs said during practice that Portis wore pads for the first time and participated in some drills, but that the final decision of whether to play belonged to Portis.
"I'm going to say it is strictly day-by-day unless he really comes around," Gibbs said. "The decision will be up to him."