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USA Today: Portis both a role player and face of the Redskins

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Portis both a role player and face of the Redskins

Updated 8/3/2006 1:18 AM ET

By Chris Colston, USA TODAY

ASHBURN, Va. — It was something you might expect in a baseball clubhouse, the kind of cut-up antics that get memorialized in books like Ball Four or movies such as Major League. But under the NFL roof of staid, conservative Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, what running back Clinton Portis did Thursday, Oct. 20, 2005, bordered on the bizarre.

The Redskins had lost two consecutive games to fall to 3-2, and Portis hadn't scored a touchdown all season. For a man who has worn pink Capri pants in South Beach, the idea came easily.

Portis possessed, in his locker, a white wig and a pair of sunglasses that looked borrowed from the X-Man Cyclops.

"I stuck my hand in the socket when I woke up this morning," he told the media at Redskins Park, "and my hair turned out this way." He called himself "The Mad Scientist" and said he was dissecting the playbook, figuring out how he could get in the end zone.

That Sunday, Portis scored three touchdowns in a 52-17 win against the San Francisco 49ers.

His success was more likely due to the 49ers' ineptitude than any sort of cosmic force, but now he had no choice. He continued the act with a creative array of characters — Southeast Jerome, Dr. I Don't Know, Sheriff Gonna Getcha and Dolla Bill — but the Redskins lost four of their next five games. Portis thought about bagging the gag for good, but his teammates urged him to continue. "I honestly told him it was something unique, to carry on that way," wide receiver Santana Moss says. "It gave us something to look forward to during the week, just to laugh."

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"I think the transition here will be a lot quicker than it normally would be," Saunders says. "When I came from St. Louis to Kansas City with Dick, we put in a whole new system. It was so different from what they ran in the past that it took awhile. The language was so new to everybody. But here, Joe and I come from the same background, and we use pretty much the same terminology.
This has been my biggest concern, and I'm glad to see that he's not too concerned about it.


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Clinton is fired up for this season. Go to Redskins.com and watch his interview on redskins.com TV he's pumped up, looks sharp as hell. I doubt Portis will bring back the charactars, he's already moving on to Scene 3 while the media is stuck on the old story. Portis is going to impress a lot of people this year.

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I hope he doesnt dress up....I didnt like it when he did....

Why not? It kept team morale up without bringing the focus away from the team. What you need is a bunch of guys who want to win but don't take themselves too seriously. If they do, then your team chemistry is destroyed.

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