This past week was a pretty emotional one for Clinton Portis. The former Redskins running back officially retired Thursday from the NFL as a member of the burgundy and gold. On the very next day, at the team's annual Welcome Home Luncheon, he was named to the "80 Greatest Redskins of All-Time" list, as selected by the fans and a special voting committee.
Then on Saturday, he was on hand for the preseason game at FedEx Field versus the Colts. He got a solid welcome at all three events, but honestly I don't think that the welcome was as great as it should have been for the second-leading rusher in team history, and I think I know why.
As good as Portis was a football player, he will be known just as much for his colorful character off the field. The costumes of Southeast Jerome, Kid Bro Sweets, Coach Janky Spanky, Sheriff Gonna Getcha, Dolla Bill, Dr. Do Itch Big and Napoleon Dynamite that were somehow allowed to be displayed by Redskins management were entertaining to us in the media, but I don't think helped Portis' legacy.
But you know what? I don't think he cared. Sounds similar to another Redskins running back. The only back to rush for more yards then Portis is the legendary John Riggins. In fact, you could say that Portis was the 2000 version of Riggo. The only difference, and it is a big difference, was that Riggins helped put the first Lombardi Trophy in the case while Portis did not even help win a single division title.
I will remember Portis' first Redskins carry going 64 yards for a touchdown in the 2004 season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I will remember Portis for his superb blocking ability and for being arguably the best running back of the modern era at picking up the blitz. But others will remember him as a childish comedian who did not take his football as seriously as he should have.
The Redskins traded cornerback Champ Bailey and a second-round draft pick to Denver to get Portis before the 2004 season. Do you think it was worth it and will you remember No. 26 as a football player or a funnyman?