Redskins call it a season for Portis

"If it's my time and I look back today, I think I have had a great career," Clinton Portis said. (Jonathan Newton/the Washington Post)
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By Rick Maese and Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Clinton Portis can't say with certainty whether he'll be in the Redskins' backfield next season, but team officials have decided he won't be returning this year.

The Redskins placed their star running back on the season-ending injured-reserve list Tuesday because of lingering problems stemming from a concussion he suffered last month. Though the team expects Portis to eventually return from the injury, Portis said in a radio interview, "If it's my time, I think I had a great career."

"I think I'll get well. I think I have to go and really put the time into rehabbing and continuing to do what the doctors say," Portis said during his weekly appearance on "The John Thompson Show" on ESPN 980 Tuesday. "But at the same time, man, to have the opportunity to play for eight years and play, compete and not miss many games and to carry the organization, I'm thankful for Mr. [Daniel] Snyder and Coach [Joe] Gibbs bringing me to the Redskins and the Broncos drafting me.

"If it's my time and I look back today, I think I have had a great career."

Portis traveled to Pittsburgh on Monday to begin a two-day evaluation process under the supervision of concussion specialists at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. After physicians determined that Portis had not improved enough to resume full participation in football activity, the Redskins decided to end his season. Portis has experienced vision problems since he suffered the concussion Nov. 8 at Atlanta but said he thought his condition had been improving.

"Once I couldn't play the Saints game, all of a sudden you get that question, 'Are they gonna play him?' " Portis said. "I came up here hoping to get cleared and start resuming activity. The doctor said he wasn't going to do it. He didn't like what he saw. It's life, man."

Portis, who previously suffered a concussion during his final game at the University of Miami in 2002, said he felt his vision was sufficient but one eye tested weaker than the other, and "the doctor feared if I took another hit like that it could get worse."

The early end to Portis's season highlights the league's growing sensitivity to concussions. Just last week, the NFL instituted new measures that require independent neurologists to examine concussed players, in addition to stricter guidelines governing when a player can return to action.

The Redskins made the Portis announcement in an early afternoon news release. Coach Jim Zorn was not made available for comment.

"After consulting with our medical staff and other specialists, Clinton's prognosis is good and we expect him to make a full recovery and return to the Redskins," Vinny Cerrato, Washington's executive vice president of football operations, said in the release.

Portis's agent Drew Rosenhaus said he spoke with the doctors who evaluated his client and was told that Portis would need a few more weeks before he's completely symptom-free. Rosenhaus used his Twitter account Tuesday to say he expects Portis to fully recover and to play again as a Redskin.

"The decision to place Clinton on IR is purely a precaution, and he will be ready for 2010 and beyond," he tweeted. "We are very optimistic about his Redskins future."

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