After months of negotiations, Redskins running back Clinton Portis finally got his number.
Portis was sporting No. 26 during yesterday's minicamp -- the number he wore in Denver before his trade to Washington this offseason -- after having pried it away from defensive back Ifeanyi Ohalete. Portis initially offered to box Ohalete for the number, but the exchange was made under more peaceful terms.
"I had to buy him a car," said Portis, who this offseason signed an eight-year, $50.5 million deal that included $17 million in bonuses. "I'm going to let him use my house for a couple of house parties, and I think I've got to buy him a 12-pack for every home game. There were some negotiations involved."
Ohalete, who has a one-year deal worth $628,000, took the No. 30 vacated by running back Trung Canidate's release this week. He declined to comment on the details of the deal, saying only, "Everybody's gotta have a number."
Players on offense and defense helped broker the agreement. "I was one of the mediators," cornerback Fred Smoot said. "I just wanted peace and tranquility in the locker room."
Coach Joe Gibbs said he was not involved in the process.
"It's got to be worked out among the guys," Gibbs said. "As a coach you can't jump in there and start handing out numbers. I'm not going to do that."
No one was more pleased by the turn of event than Portis.
"I feel like Superman now, I got my cape back," Portis said. "Superman's not Superman when he don't have his cape."
Fullback Rock Cartwright was excused from yesterday's practice after his mother died. Gibbs said he spoke to Cartwright at length and will be given as much time off as he needs. . . . Safety Sean Taylor, Washington's first-round pick in the draft, said he has no timetable in place to finalize his decision on a new agent. "I've got all the time in the world," Taylor said. Taylor is expected to name Eugene Mato as his new representative shortly.