Redskins running back Clinton Portis’ disdain for practicing is well documented. He does not like the offseason program, and typically is averse to in-season practicing as well. Portis also has admitted that he wasn’t a big fan of former Skins head coach Jim Zorn.
According to the Washington Post, Portis “was energized by the firing” of Zorn and subsequent hiring of old Denver pal Mike Shanahan. Under Shanahan, Portis has reportedly turned over a new leaf.
People familiar with the tailback’s thinking tell the Post that Portis is “determined” to prove that he can be a 1,500-yard back again. He is fully expected to beat out Larry Johnson and Willie Parker for the starting job after an offseason in which Portis “surprised many in the organization with his positive outlook and hard work.”
Portis has reportedly also shed weight, and is down to 217 after playing above 230 pounds last season.
Trimming down, of course, won’t decrease the probability of Portis suffering more concussions. Portis wasn’t medically cleared to resume practicing at minicamps until April. He was placed on injured reserve last December.
Despite the Post‘s glowing praise, we’d hesitate to expect a rebound year from Portis. He is coming off an injury-ruined season and ranks fourth among active running backs in career carries. Consider him an extreme long shot to make it through 16 games.