Portis is determined to return in 2011
There was a time when Clinton Portis strongly considered retirement. Two years ago he was disillusioned and no longer convinced that he loved football.
That’s not on his mind, however, after his latest injury setback. Speaking to reporters this morning for the first time since being placed on the season-ending injured reserve list last week, Portis expressed his desire to continue his career after having surgery on Tuesday to repair a torn groin muscle and torn abdominal muscle.
“I would love to come back next year,” he said. “I don’t see why [not]. This [team] has got a good thing going. I think the coaching staff and organization are heading in the right direction, and it’s going to happen soon. Once you get a couple of pieces in place, it’s going to be the Redskins’ year. Why not be a part of that?”
Whether Portis is a part of the Redskins’ future, however, won’t entirely be up to him. He is under contract for next season, but a significant increase in his scheduled base salary means he almost certainly would have to renegotiate his deal to stay with the club. His current contract contains no more guaranteed money, so the Redskins could terminate him at no cost, according to a league source with knowledge of the contract.
Portis will try to convince coach Mike Shanahan that he’s worth keeping around.
He has accomplished plenty in the sport and has earned financial security. However, there’s an inner drive that will push Portis to continue his career.
“Two years ago I really was at that point [of contemplating retirement],” he said. “Now I feel like I can’t leave on this note.”
Portis, 29, missed five games this season after tearing a groin muscle in his left leg off the bone against Philadelphia on Oct. 3. He returned for Washington’s game against Tennessee on Nov. 21 but was sidelined in the first half by a torn abdominal muscle.
Portis said in hindsight that he had no problem with the decision to delay surgery and attempt a comeback from the groin tear.
“Having it re-happen, I don’t think it was, ‘Oh, I should have sat out,’” Portis said. “For that one quarter to go out and provide the spark and the energy I provided, I felt great.”
He called the abdominal injury that ended his season “shocking.” On Tuesday he had surgery to repair both tears.
His recovery is expected to take several months.
“I think today is going to be Day One,” Portis said. “I’ve got to go walk a mile right now.”
Portis is convinced the rehabilitation process is worth the effort because he rediscovered his passion for the sport last offseason. After Shanahan was hired, Portis re-committed himself to getting in shape following a severe concussion that cost him the final eight games of 2009.
His hard work bore production on the field. He averaged 4.2 yards on 54 carries before his season ended. He scored two rushing touchdowns.
“The previous two seasons just losing the lust for the game and not really knowing what I wanted to do, compared to finally putting the work in this offseason and getting back and having a system that you believe in, getting the right teammates around and seeing the right guys fight for the right purpose, all of a sudden you miss it again,” Portis said.
“I think for myself, being here all offseason working and coming up short, just having an opportunity to find the fun in the game again and not really letting the outside gestures or situations I can’t control worry or bother me. So I look forward to coming back next year.”