Redskins' Portis: 'The demand for me is high right now, and I haven't supplied a lot' Print
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Thursday, 06 September 2007 12:11
NFL Headline News

 ASHBURN, Va. (AP) -Clinton Portis is fine. Really, he is. He must have said it at least a dozen different ways Thursday. Even though he has barely practiced all year. Even though there's a 1,000-yard back on his heels.
Even though he knows, as far as his tenure with the Washington Redskins is concerned, it's put-up-or-shut-up time.
``It's supply and demand,'' Portis said. ``The demand for me is high right now, and I haven't supplied a lot. Hopefully I can start supplying and people will calm down.''
The offensive star finds himself very much on the defensive as the Redskins prepare for Sunday's season opener against the Miami Dolphins. The back who rushed for a franchise-record 1,516 yards and sported colorful costumes in 2005 wasn't himself in 2006, when his season was ruined by two shoulder injuries and a broken hand. He ran for only 523 yards, his first sub-1,300 season in five years in the NFL.
The injury-marred year could have faded quickly into history had Portis arrived healthy for 2007, but persistent tendinitis in his right knee sidelined him for most of the spring practices as well as training camp. The player who has publicly loathed the idea of playing in preseason got his wish - he didn't play a snap - and only in recent days did he begin taking part fully in practice.
``I think I can handle any workload that's given to me,'' Portis said. ``Whatever they give me, that's what I'm going to handle. I'm not going to pout and ask for more. I'm not going to complain and say I needed less.''
But, with so little preparation, will he be in football shape?
No, answered Portis, but he said that's the norm for this time of year.
``It's the first game of the season for everybody in the NFL, so who is in football condition?'' Portis said. ``Until Week 3 or 4, there's not going to be a player in the league in football condition. You can get out and run around as much as you want, but you can't dictate a drive in practice, you can't dictate a long run in practice. Everybody's going to be in the same boat.''
Coach Joe Gibbs said Portis will start Sunday, with Ladell Betts also getting plenty of work. Betts ran for a career-high 1,154 yards last year and led the NFC with 666 yards in December - mostly after Portis went on injured reserve. Betts was also rewarded with a contract extension.
Therefore, the inevitable questions this year concern whether there can be enough carries for both Portis and Betts, and whether Betts' production means this could be it for Portis if he doesn't have a good year.
``If we don't win, it could be it for a lot of people,'' said Portis, who turned 26 last weekend but already has 1,385 career carries. ``If we have a losing season, it might be it for you. They might have some new reporters here.''
Portis is also tiring of questions about sharing the workload about Betts.
``People fail to realize all my career I've been in this position,'' Portis said. ``In college I was sharing the load with James Jackson, Najeh Davenport, Willis McGahee, Frank Gore. It wasn't just me. In the NFL, I shared the load with Mike Anderson, Olandis Gary, Reuben Droughns. It was all of us. I got here and it became that I was the man, they wanted me to be the focal point, so when Ladell came in there was a problem. Now we're back to sharing the load. I'm sure I'll be fine.''
``I'm not going to address this issue any more after today. Me and Ladell are going to coexist. We're going to have fun.''
Portis is still a cutup in the locker room. This week, quarterback Jason Campbell said he made the roster thanks to ``assistant vice president Clinton Portis.'' Campbell also joked that the Redskins might never see Portis practice again if the back has a big game Sunday after so little preseason work.
For Gibbs, however, Portis' idle training camp was no laughing matter. But the coach also realized that a running back with a swollen knee isn't going to run very far.
``We felt like we did the right thing,'' Gibbs said. ``The medical team felt like if we were to get that thing calmed down, now is the time to do it. Is that what you like? No. It's not ideal.''
Portis has tried to reassure the coach, and everyone else, that he'll be his old self on Sunday.
``Showtime. It's going to be like lights, camera, action,'' said Portis, moving his fingers like a pair of scissors on the word ``action.''
``Sunday, Sept. 9, FedEx Field, 1 o'clock, Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins,'' Portis said with nod. ``Clinton Portis will be there.''
Notes: TE Cody Boyd, who signed with the Redskins on Sunday, is sidelined with a pinched nerve in his shoulder. He suffered the injury during Wednesday's practice and did not practice Thursday. ... LB Khary Campbell, who had been limited with a hamstring injury, took part in the full practice.
 

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