Thursday, August 24, 2006

Portis Patois

I have to admit, Redskins fans, that some of the things that Clinton Portis has said lately have bothered me. I understand the NFL is not like amateur sports and that there is a hierarchy when it comes to players on professional teams. But, I also know that the flatter that hierarchy is, the more cohesive the team will be.

I didn’t like to hear Portis say that there was no reason for a running back of his caliber to be playing in a preseason game and risking injury. My immediate thought was: What does a guy like Ladell Betts (and Joe Gibbs) think about that statement. Ladell has been a solid contributor to the Redskins getting nearly four yards per carry when Portis was resting. He was a high draft pick and is young. In addition, he has been an excellent citizen and great teammate. Well, I found out what Ladell though about it. Here is how Mike Wise of the Washington Post described it; Wise was writing a story about the friendship between Betts and Rock Cartwright, who are roommates in the offseason:

Imagine being best friends with a guy whose professional goal was to take your job. Awkward? No, it's NFL reality, the same reality that allows two role-playing running backs to survive in a world of diva ballcarriers.

Like Portis, who wondered why a player of his caliber should even have been playing in the preseason last week. "I wouldn't say that bothers me," Betts said. "I understand a player with credentials feeling that way. He's entitled to his opinion. But I don't agree with that. There is a game speed you get in the preseason that's impossible to simulate in practice. We don't hit and tackle in practice like a preseason game.

"And the idea if you get hurt, you should get hurt in the regular season also doesn't make sense. I mean, you can get hurt in practice any day of the week. So we shouldn't practice? That's just me."

The other news item with respect to the running backs is that the Skins traded for 25-year old T.J. Duckett to add depth because of Portis’s injury. Duckett was a first-round draft pick for the Falcons and is a short-yardage monster who has scored 31 touchdowns in 55 games. But, because the Redskins had pretty good depth at running back already with Betts, Cartwright, and Mike Sellers—another short-yardage beast who scored 7 touchdowns last year—I wondered how the backups would take the news. According to today’s Washington Post they were shocked, frustrated, and angry. I would have rather seen the Skins get another offensive lineman for that draft pick, but what do I know. I’m sure Duckett will be very good.


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