Clinton Portis, Santana Moss admit to drinking before games

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As Washington closes in on a grievance hearing that could raise plenty of questions about the handling of alcohol by the organization, a couple of former players freely admit that they routinely drank alcohol before games.

“Prior to the game, on our way, we would take a little shot,” former Washington running back Clinton Portis told NBC4 in D.C. (via the Washington Post) regarding himself, receiver Santana Moss, and the late Sean Taylor. “Not like going out and getting sloppy wasted. Just adrenaline. You know, you take a shot and you were done with it. Me, Santana and Sean, we did this for a year and a half before anybody knew. We never told anybody. It was just, hey, here’s a little sip, bam, that was it.”

The drink of choice was Hennessy, and the tradition was sparked by a claim from Portis that he had one of his best games with the Broncos when he played with a hangover. Other players began doing it, and it continued until former coach Jim Zorn caught wind of it. Zorn believed they were doing it in honor of Taylor, who had since been killed as a result of a home invasion.

Portis defended the habit by pointing out that teams routinely pump players full of drugs.

“They give you shots [of medication], they give you all these pain meds, they give you all this [stuff],” Portis said. “Me, I didn’t take shots. You ask anybody. We needed to get an IV one time; it took me three hours to get an IV bag, because I hate needles. I don’t take meds. I don’t take shots. That just wasn’t me. So in pain or anything else, what did I do? You know what, I’ve got to play. Get my mind right, take my little sip, and I’m out of here.”

Moss downplayed the impact of the habit of taking a pregame shot.

“Once you get out there and all that adrenaline going on, that [alcohol] is out you, you know what I mean?” Moss said. “You’re taking all this Gatorade and water you don’t have it in your system no more . . . And that was just kind of having fun. You know what, let’s take that stress out of our heads and say let’s just have fun and not care so much. Because sometimes as players, you put so much pressure on yourself to go out there and perform. Man, let’s relax.”

They’re hardly alone when it comes to pre-game efforts to manage stress, especially in today’s climate. From the 60,000 fans who are scrutinizing what you do in the stadium to the hundreds of thousands watching at home to the millions with the ability to scream “you suck!” on social media whenever they want, players are processing plenty of stress — along with the constant risk of serious injury. It should surprise no one that guys in their early-to-mid-20s would take a shot of alcohol (or more) or smoke marijuana or do whatever they need to do to handle the intense mental and physical demands of playing in the NFL.

45 responses to “Clinton Portis, Santana Moss admit to drinking before games

  1. I have always suspected that certain Teams in the NFL ,Were doped up,hopped on something during games in the past also !!! There was and is wide spread cheating going on in Pro Football… How can it be denied now with so many ex players admitting it now?? Steroids.drugs and alcohol have always been used before ,during and after games. One multi championship team has had players actually die young because of it. which only became public after the players death …. I know a lot of you will say whaa whaaa whaaa ,but i think that before the playoffs and before the SB all players should be drug tested …. Will never happen !!! so we will always be left with the question were the players clean??? So we will never know !!!!

  2. I fail to see a problem with this…. I’m inclined to believe that a single shot of hennessy is far less dangerous to the body than all of the drugs doctors inject into some players pre durning & after games…

  3. No big deal here. These guys are just being honest. It’s not like they drank a bottle. It was a little sip. Players in the old days drank the whole bottle. I remember players smoking cigarettes on the sidelines. The Cowboys’ HOF DT Bob Lilly used to smoke on the sidelines. He’s in Canton. If someone did enough research they could put together a pretty good book about all the NFL, NBA, and MLB players that had certain pre-game “routines”. I’m sure we’re watching a few of those guys every Sunday on the pre-game shows. These guys are human. Just like us.

  4. cobrala2 says:
    December 6, 2017 at 7:20 am

    Coincidentally neither seemed to accomplish much in their NFL career.

    If you think that Clinton Portis (10k yds, 27th all-time) and Santana (10k yds and 66 TDs) never accomplished anything in the league you are either too young to have seen them for flat out delusional. They were both absolute studs on the greatest college football team ever and both lived up to it in the NFL. I am not a Skins or Canes fan but I remember the greats. Take it back.

  5. One shot/sip before a game is more of a psychological placebo than a physiological or neurological effect. Many athletes are superstitious when it comes to routines and habits and sometimes the psychological effect is worthwhile. This is kind of a non-story.

  6. No different than having a drink on your lunch break !
    ——-
    That’s a fire-able offense at my work place. Lots of heavy machinery. You could lose a digit if you are not careful. I know the lunch drink was “a thing” in the 50’s and 60’s, but is it still a thing? I didn’t think it was but I’ve worked the same job for over 20 years so I’m out of touch.

  7. I used to take Xanax the day before athletic events, to help sleep and keep my nerves calm the following morning. I dont see this as any different.

  8. There’s not a single person who inhabits this comment section who played in the NFL, or any other pro league for that matter. None of us know what it’s like to get our bodies battered for a few hours once a week. These guys do whatever it takes to screw in their courage in order to take another beating on the field for our pleasure. This game they play oftentimes leaves them crippled and in pain for the rest of their lives. And please don’t even mention the money – our bodies don’t care about that, pain don’t care about that either. I’m sure Portis and Moss aren’t the only guys doing this either.

  9. charliecharger says:

    It’s not like they drank a bottle. It was a little sip.
    ===================================================

    So they say.

  10. This is a non-story. Portis has been saying that this is what he did for years before games, and he’s always said it would be a shot of liquor and not like a bottle in his locker or something. But watch people overreact to it while their team doctors continue to pump players full of opiates and other dangerous drugs regularly.

  11. I think many players start this tradition in high school, certainly college – and it carries over into the NFL. There’s a lot that goes on behind the curtain. Did anyone read Josh Gordon’s interview by SI? He made it a point to be under the influence before each game, and when he wasn’t suspended, was the best WR in the league. It’s like anything else. They become dependent on it. It’s not good for health, but I also don’t think it impairs their ability to play considering how long they’ve been doing it.

  12. back in my day whiskey was a performance enhancer because it got you extra mean. especially among undersized olineman. bob brown for the eagles, billy shaw from back in the day. they had something hidden away on the sideline. absolute madmen!

  13. Whenever a drunk driver gets pulled over… he always says ‘I only had one drink’.

    I’d bet these players had more than one drink.

    How often do groups of guys all say… “O.K. let’s have our one drink” when a whole bottle is near.

  14. High School? How in the heck could you get away drinking at a school event, let alone sports with coaches and assistant coaches?

    Sounds like some of you had just rock bottom horrible mentors for coaches. You’d most certainly get kicked off the team and probably expelled if you tried that at my school during the 80’s. And not just my school but any of the teams in the area.

    And if you need to drink to compete, then you or your team are not preparing correctly. That is not normal. I never heard of any players from other schools doing it either. Now that I’m middle aged I know more of the coaches. I’ve never heard of it from them either.

  15. I’ve always suspected this kind of behavior with some of the Redskin players, probably other teams too. Some of them look like they are very hung over on Sundays, like they went out drinking and partying the night before. On one Sunday, you’d have a particular player play lights out. Then the following Sunday, they look sluggish, tired, missing assignments, and looking miserable out there. Looks just like someone with a bad hangover.

  16. they are just playing football .. who cares if they get drunk? i am just a customer of their entertainment product .. you don’t think rock stars perform concerts drunk/high?

    is alcohol illegal or something? it is only a problem when the alcohol causes a danger to others .. they are not operating heavy machinery .. they are playing football .. no one cares .. please have another drink

  17. charliecharger says:

    It’s not like they drank a bottle. It was a little sip.

    ———-

    Why do people feel the need to drink, smoke or ingest anything to relax or otherwise make themselves feel good? I used to smoke weed, drank plenty of alcohol and did plenty of other stuff too. Then I grew up and realized that going through life mentally or physically impaired made no sense.

  18. Seems like about 1/3 of the commenters aren’t reading the article carefully. They were doing ONE shot, a little nip. It’s called taking on some Dutch Courage.

    They weren’t getting “impaired”. Just a little fire in the belly to deal with the nerves and nothing more.

  19. “It should surprise no one that guys in their early-to-mid-20s would take a shot of alcohol (or more) or smoke marijuana or do whatever they need to do to handle the intense mental and physical demands of playing in the NFL.”

    An apologist for juvenile stupidity. No, I’m not surprised at all.

  20. Better if they smoked a joint but would be suspended for a year, but if committed a hit that could cause brain damage, a fine or maybe a game suspension.

  21. Why do people feel the need to drink, smoke or ingest anything to relax or otherwise make themselves feel good? I used to smoke weed, drank plenty of alcohol and did plenty of other stuff too. Then I grew up and realized that going through life mentally or physically impaired made no sense.

    I feel sorry for you

  22. patsfan4lifesbchamps says:December 6, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Brady doesn’t drink for a reason. Lesser players should take note.
    ===========================================

    Brady has a super model for a wife who makes more than he does. Lesser players should take note.

  23. I’m willing to bet they did more than that, but honestly they’re both gone at this point so what does it really matter anyway? Also, for the fellow Pats fans that say Brady is above drinking why did Bledsoe say Brady was like a tank when drinking beer. He may not do it anymore but he definitely did.

  24. jerryyouradisgrace says:

    Can any of us take a shot at work and it be ok with our employer?

    __________________________________________________

    Depends on the value you have to the person that signs your checks. Not all is created equal in the workplace.

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