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DN: Watch out for: Clinton Portis


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Watch out for: Clinton Portis

http://www.detnews.com/2005/lions/0510/09/C13-341962.htm

There won't be any hard feelings for Clinton Portis today in his first game back in Denver since the trade last year that sent him to Washington.

There were no losers in the deal. Portis got the contract he wanted from the Redskins. The Broncos got Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey -- who also got a new contract -- along with a second-round draft pick. The Broncos used the pick to draft another running back, Tatum Bell.

The Broncos made the playoffs last year and lead the AFC West with a 3-1 record. The Redskins missed the playoffs in '04 but are 3-0 and lead the Eagles (3-1) by a half game in the NFC East.

For Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, there's no reason for regrets on a win-win deal.

"I think they feel very good about Clinton, and we feel very good about Champ," Shanahan said. "If you feel good about a trade, then it is a win-win situation.

"Champ has played very well for us. Obviously, Clinton played very well for us when he was here. Not only did we get Champ, but we got Tatum Bell as well. We feel good about it, and I'm sure they do as well."

Portis signed a $50.5 million contract in Washington. Bailey got a $63 million deal in Washington.

Portis was a big-play performer in his two seasons in Denver. He rushed for 3,099 yards and had 29 touchdowns. Washington's defense wasn't nearly as potent last year. Defenses keyed on Portis. He gained 1,315 yards but his average dropped from 5.5 yards a carry in Denver to 3.8 and he had just five touchdowns.

Portis is off to a solid start this year, with 263 yards in three games and a 4.2-yard average -- but no touchdowns.

The NFL has been called the No Trade League, but the Redskins have been quick to make deals. They traded with Jacksonville to get quarterback Mark Brunell and made a receiver swap with the Jets, getting Laveranues Coles for Santana Moss.

Portis got used to making big plays in Denver. He had his first losing season last year in Washington and didn't like it. He has been more of a vocal leader this year.

"Having that one losing season made me take on more of a leadership role," Portis said. "I wanted to show that if I was willing to bust my butt and hustle and throw my body into a defensive lineman that everybody else should go the extra mile, too.

"A year like that makes you appreciate things a lot more."

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