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http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_ylt=Anmw1uNhmgFGrAgAx4TZWURDubYF?slug=cr-portispeaksagain102308&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

Portis proving he’s not just another tailback

By Charles Robinson, Yahoo! Sports 1 hour, 2 minutes ago

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ASHBURN, Va. – The little yellow piece of paper handed to Clinton Portis contained nine names. When he pored over them, his sleepy eyes went wide as silver dollars, and he chuckled softly as he ticked off the names on the list.

Reuben DroughnsMike AndersonTatum BellCecil SappMike BellTravis HenrySelvin YoungAndre HallMichael Pittman.

He knew the common thread immediately. The list bore the names of nine running backs who have started at least one game for the Broncos since Portis was traded by that franchise before the 2004 season. Players that, as the logic went at the time he was dealt to the Washington Redskins, could simply be plugged into Denver’s system with the same megawatt results Portis delivered his first two seasons in the NFL.

“It’s all about the system, right?” Portis said with a grin. “Well then, I guess right now they are trapped in the system.”

Four and a half seasons have passed, and the Broncos still haven’t found an adequate replacement for their onetime superstar. But this isn’t about revisionist history. Even Portis isn’t foolish enough to suggest Denver made a mistake dealing him for cornerback Champ Bailey. Instead, as he stands at the latest peak in his career – and holding a commanding lead in the league’s rushing race with 818 yards – the 27-year old Portis believes he is delivering a salient rebuttal to NFL theory. One that teammate Shaun Alexander summed up best.

“You can find running backs,” Alexander said. “But can you find great ones?”

1224778332.jpg Portis’ 7th TD of the season put Washington on the board against Cleveland Sunday.

(US Presswire/James Lang)

It was a rhetorical question. As the former league MVP Alexander learned, the NFL sucks the lifeblood from its runners and unceremoniously discards the carcasses. But in the rare event a franchise finds a lasting, consistent star, it often protects him like plutonium. And Portis is making his case as one of the enduring elements of his era, off to the best start of his seven-year career and on pace to rush for 1,869 yards and 16 touchdowns. With the Redskins paving a road as NFC Super Bowl contenders, those would be MVP-type digits, even as the league splits at the seams with bloated quarterback statistics.

That success is a shot across the bow of Portis’ past critics, a cadre of fans and media analysts who forecasted his demise as an injury-prone player and criticized his practice dedication under former coach Joe Gibbs. But there was a shift this offseason, when Portis restructured his contract to gain a $9.2 million signing bonus and $15.7 million in guaranteed money through 2010. Within that deal were financial incentives for Portis’ participation in Washington’s offseason program – something he had always eschewed to spend the spring and summer in Florida, working out near his home with former University of Miami teammates.

That changed this offseason, when Portis stayed in Virginia and participated in the Redskins’ array of workouts and minicamps. Now seven games into the season, Portis is once again teasing fans with his big-play ability. He’s notched eight carries of 20 yards or more so far. By comparison, he had only six 20-plus runs in his previous two seasons under Joe Gibbs.

All the while, he has tested first-year coach Jim Zorn, who’s been both openly stern and demanding of Portis’ practice involvement. And when he doesn’t get it, you can hear the annoyance in Zorn’s voice, such as this week, which has seen Portis miss practice while resting his hip.

“He’s the kind of player that every coach would dream about on Sunday,” Zorn said. “I dream about a more participatory player in practice. But I will say this – he gives it up during the games and wears himself out. He wants to rest during the week. It’s not conducive to all the things that we want to try to do, but it’s what we’ve got to work with.

“I’m not OK with him not practicing, but it’s a necessity. He does get dinged up. And physically he needs to rest, so we’re giving him a rest.”

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Love it. Absolutely love it. Portis is finally able to truly explode here in DC, and he's still only 27. If we can keep his number of carries from going sky-high, we might be able to enjoy this kind of production for another three years.

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“You can find running backs,” Alexander said. “But can you find great ones?”

It has been my argument for Portis for years and why I felt the trade was a good one despite the fact that we had to kick in a little extra for it. Portis is special. While you probably could find a guy to do the job reasonably well, there is a difference when you have someone truely special at the position.

Jason

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Although it is kinda sad that it has to take him to be the league leader in rush yards and tds (and an amazing 118/ypg) to get some recognition, I'm finally glad people are finally starting to give Portis some of the respect he deserves, and has deserved.

Since Portis got here, a ****load of skins fans, NFL "analysts" and fans of other teams have been hating on story, using bull**** excuses to justify why he is not one of the elite backs in the NFL.

Larry Johnson

Priest Holmes

Steven Jackson

Frank Gore

Joseph Addai

Laurence Maroney(WTF?)

Ladell friggin' Betts

Marion Barber

Thats just a small list of RBs that people have always claimed that are better than CP. Yet, none of those guys have had put up the consistent numbers that CP does year in and year out. Hell, they haven't even come close. Some (MBIII, por exemplo), haven't even reached 1000 yards in a season!

Clinton Portis is the truely a special player that comes to play every sunday, and has done so for YEARS. While other "elite" backs come and go, CP is still here.

CP is the second best RB of his generation, only behind LT, who is probably a top 5 RB of all time. And finally he is getting some recognition for what he has done throughout his whole 7 years in the league, no matter what system.

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It has been my argument for Portis for years and why I felt the trade was a good one despite the fact that we had to kick in a little extra for it. Portis is special. While you probably could find a guy to do the job reasonably well, there is a difference when you have someone truely special at the position.

Jason

Exxxxxxactly!

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I think last year when Portis said he wasn't giving every game his all, probably has something to do with people being down on him. I think the unfortunate passing of Sean Taylor caused him to grow up. What we're seeing now is the results of having a Clinton Portis that gives his all EVERY play, like Sean did.

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In Hindsight we REALLY got a nice deal. Yeah, Champ had been great in Denver, but this year he's having health issues and if we all remember in 2003, we'll remember Champ was giving up the big play alot. Was Shanahan that arrogant that he thought the plug and play thing would work for them at RB? It did for a couple of years, but not much since. You'd think they would have ponied up the cash to give Portis a fair payday, but I guess they thought that any league minimum speedball could get 1300 yards in their system.

I was a critic of Portis, but not anymore. He does talk some, but on gameday he brings it. These numbers are amazing. This has the potential of a HOF career. I think the threshold for the HOF has been upped from 10,000 to 12,000 yards though.

2002- 1,508

2003- 1,591

2004- 1,315

2005- 1,516

2006- ..523

2007- 1,262

2008- ..818....

Total- 8,533 yds, 70 TDs

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In Hindsight we REALLY got a nice deal. Yeah' date=' Champ had been great in Denver, but this year he's having health issues and if we all remember in 2003, we'll remember Champ was giving up the big play alot. Was Shanahan that arrogant that he thought the plug and play thing would work for them at RB? It did for a couple of years, but not much since. You'd think they would have ponied up the cash to give Portis a fair payday, but I guess they thought that any league minimum speedball could get 1300 yards in their system.

I was a critic of Portis, but not anymore. He does talk some, but on gameday he brings it. These numbers are amazing. This has the potential of a HOF career. I think the threshold for the HOF has been upped from 10,000 to 12,000 yards though.

2002- 1,508

2003- 1,591

2004- 1,315

2005- 1,516

2006- ..523

2007- 1,262

[u']2008- ..818....[/u]

Total- 8,533 yds, 70 TDs

Assuming he stays healthy, he will get 12,000 by the end of 2010.

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I've said this for three years now, yet I still get blasted for it.

Meh, I'll admit wasn't so sure Portis would surpass Riggo until this season got underway and we saw Portis playing like a total beast. Now I'm certain he'll be the best we ever had. :)

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