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Portis Feeling Like Himself Again

By Jason La Canfora
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 29, 2006

Tailback Clinton Portis says his injured left shoulder feels healed, but that good news was not enough to compel him to put together a costume for his weekly meeting with reporters. Portis's array of outfits and characters became part of the Washington Redskins' five-game winning streak in 2005 and, even with some players calling for a return of his personal "Project Runway," Portis offered no assurances.

Of greater importance, he said, is his health. Portis said that he suffered no setbacks Sunday, when he tore through Houston for 164 total yards and two touchdowns, and that he feels better than he has in some time.

Portis partially dislocated his left shoulder early in the preseason opener Aug. 13, and he played sparingly in the season opener, when he began experiencing soreness in another part of the shoulder. He was inactive for the Week 2 loss at Dallas but rushed 16 times for 86 yards in Sunday's 31-15 win over the Texans. He also caught two passes for 78 yards.

"I feel good," Portis said. "I came out of the game all right. I didn't come over [to Redskins Park] Monday or Tuesday for treatment, and I practiced all day [Wednesday], and so far nothing has changed. I haven't hurt anything just going out and taking the number of plays I had and getting tackled and falling. I feel good."

Portis said he is unsure if he will get more carries Sunday against Jacksonville -- the Jaguars are giving up just 3.2 yards per carry -- but said he is fine sharing duties with Ladell Betts if it helps the team (Betts rushed 16 times for 124 yards last week). Several teammates, including defensive end Phillip Daniels, said they want Portis to begin dressing up again, hoping to recapture the prevailing spirit of fun that marked last year's run to the playoffs. They might have to wait a while.

Portis said that a team employee who helped pick out his wardrobe last season is no longer working at Redskins Park and that his inspiration has dried up lately.

"I really don't feel like it's needed," Portis said. "Everybody is looking forward to it and expecting it. Once it's in expectancy, it's hard to come up with something that people are going to enjoy and like."

Cooley Gets a Haircut

Tight end Chris Cooley, a fan of heavy-metal music, abandoned his attempt to sprout an '80s era mullet yesterday when he reported to Redskins Park with short hair. His curly hairdo was gone, and he now sports short sideburns and a businesslike part.

Cooley mulled the mullet possibilities during training camp, but he had his girlfriend trim his locks Wednesday night.

"It was wild enough, I think," Cooley said. "I was done with it."

The early returns were not so favorable. "Everyone says I look like a little kid now," Cooley said.

Cooley has not been involved much in the passing game this season -- he has been kept near the line of scrimmage frequently to block -- and has just seven catches for 38 yards. But he said the haircut was not an attempt to change his luck.

Duckett Tries Special Teams

Running back T.J. Duckett, who was acquired from Atlanta during training camp but was inactive last week, is taking part in special teams drills. Duckett has not played special teams much in the NFL, but he took some reps with the return units yesterday and is hoping to be in uniform for Sunday's game. . . . Starting defensive tackle Joe Salave'a (right calf strain) practiced again yesterday and is expected to play Sunday. He is listed as probable.

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