Redskins running back Clinton Portis respects coach Mike Shanahan, a man he enjoyed playing for in Denver and is happy to play for again in Washington.
But former Redskins coach Jim Zorn? Not so much.
In an interview with Dan Hellie of NBCWashington.com, Portis said the atmosphere fostered by Zorn wore him down.
“You become nonchalant, you become a whatever, and I think I just became a whatever-type guy,” Portis said, per the Washington Post. “The consideration of walking away, the idea of wanting to be traded, wanting to be out of D.C., all of the sudden it was like the people who you think know you buy into the outside conversation, like hmm, maybe he should be gone. I think that was more eye-opening, like I guess people really wanted me out of there. And I think there was a point, up until Coach Shanahan coming in, I really wanted out of there.”
Portis insists that he’s “never been a ‘me’ guy,” and that any suggestion otherwise is just a reflection of the frustration he felt under Zorn. And he said that while he’s been criticized in the past for not practicing, that won’t be the case this season.
“This year I’m practicing, this year I feel great, this year I got a good feeling about our team,” Portis told Hellie. “I think buying into the system, buying into the organization, knowing my role.”
Portis is coming off the worst season of his career, having gained just 494 yards in an injury-shortened 2009. But at age 28, it’s not too late for Portis to bounce back to the form he showed as a 1,500-yard rusher in Denver — when Shanahan was his coach.