Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis reached a financial settlement with former teammate Ifeanyi Ohalete yesterday, one day before they were to take their dispute to court. Ohalete claimed that Portis failed to pay him half of a $40,000 fee the players agreed to last year when Ohalete decided to allow Portis to wear jersey No. 26 with the Redskins.

They reached an $18,000 settlement, according to John Steren, Ohalete's attorney.

Portis was acquired from Denver in last year's offseason and Ohalete, a veteran with the Redskins, was already using No. 26. Portis initially offered to box Ohalete for the number and ultimately reached a contract that included a $40,000 payment and other gifts. However, after Ohalete was released on Aug. 17, Portis chose not to pay Ohalete the remaining $20,000 owed, figuring he would have received the number anyway after the defensive back was cut.

Steren has been negotiating with Portis's representatives sporadically for the last few weeks.

Portis has declined to comment on the issue -- "I don't know nothing about that," he said when questioned about the court case last month -- and was not at Redskins Park yesterday. Ohalete, who now plays for Arizona, had planned to attend the proceedings, which had been scheduled for today in Prince George's County.

"He was just about to board the plane when we made the deal," Steren said. "We would have loved to have reached this outcome sooner, but in the end it came out very well for Ife."

-- Jason La Canfora