Clinton Portis played through concussions “all the time”


Former Redskins and Broncos running back Clinton Portis says he played through concussions more times than he can remember during his nine-year NFL.

“The truth is I had a lot of concussions,” Portis told Mike Freeman of CBS. “It was just the way things were at the time. I’d get hit hard and be woozy. I’d be dizzy. I’d take a play off and then go back in. Sometimes when I went back into the game, I still couldn’t see straight. This happened all the time. Sometimes once or twice a game.”

Portis said he thinks he had more than 10 concussions, but he really doesn’t know for sure.

“I can’t put an exact number on it,” he adds. “I just know it was a lot. I stopped counting at some point.”

Portis does not, however, have the kinds of health problems that some players suffer in retirement.

“I have a few aches and pains,” he said, “nothing major. None of the, ‘I can’t stand up or walk’ stuff. I got away from the game at the perfect time. To be 31 and retired and spending time with my kids, I love it.”

Here’s hoping Portis can continue to say that for many more years of retirement.

39 responses to “Clinton Portis played through concussions “all the time”

  1. Call me crazy but if a grown man makes a decision to risk his health, shouldn’t he be allowed to?

  2. “Here’s hoping Portis can continue to say that for many more years of retirement.”

    You gotta go and put an ominous end to a nice piece about Portis enjoying retirement and spending time with his family. C’mon man.

  3. @JC

    If said grown man turns around and sues the league, no you can’t. I hope the best for him, but give a few more years.

  4. Portis is a class act. I met him in ATL a few months ago and he was extremely receptive to talking with Skins fans.

    HAIL CP….And he was a great friend of #21-RIP

  5. I had a chance to meet him once on a flight from NY to Miami. We talked about this topic, about Robert Smith and how he left the game in his prime, you could tell it had an influence on Portis. Great guy, talked on and on about wanting to spend time with his family. He was just recently retired at the time and he was in NYC for a fundraiser, you could just tell he was happy. I wish him nothing but the best.

  6. howiefeltersnatch says:
    Jul 1, 2013 9:41 AM
    “Here’s hoping Portis can continue to say that for many more years of retirement.”

    You gotta go and put an ominous end to a nice piece about Portis enjoying retirement and spending time with his family. C’mon man.
    Skins fans are too insecure to even understand that’s an optimistic message

  7. Re: a “grown man” making his own decisions, the idea is that a grown man with a head injury can’t make rational decisions. That’s where his employer, who in this case puts him in this dangerous position, is entrusted with the task of making good decisions for him.

  8. He got one near the end of his career, knocked out on the field. I forget who he was playing against at the time. One of the scarier injuries I’ve seen. He lowered his head, took the hit, and was obviously unconscious before he hit the ground.

    Scary stuff.

    I hope his good health continues through his retirement. He was one of the few bright spots on the Redskins in the post-Gibbs1.0, pre-RG3 era…

  9. Well I’m 31 and I remember when getting (what is now called) a concussion was called “getting your bell” wrung.

    When I was young concussions were talked about like if you got one it would kill you…like it was very hard to get one. Turns out it wasn’t.

    I remember more than a few times one coach looking at the other and saying “just got his bell rung” and asking if I was ok to play, which I always was or thought I was at least.

    I’d say I know he played many games with a concussion just like most players from this time frame and those before them. The knowledge we had on the field said it was safe during those times…what knowledge the NFL had at those times is clearly up for debate but as far as on the field goes it was “clear your head and get back out there” at all times.

  10. Give it 15 more years Bro’ Sweets….

    I bet you won’t be singing the same tune or loving it then.

    It’s a good thing though that players are now being honest about how frequent this happened to them during their career. Only way for the culture to change is by talking about and driving it home that these are not to be taken lightly.

  11. Forget about the concussion lawsuits for a minute. The focus should be that if he was receiving the level and quality of healthcare that you’d expect to receive being an NFL player, this SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO HAPPEN. It’s great that he’s not, as of yet, showing any of the known symptoms of multiple concussions and playing with concussions, but the decision to keep playing after a concussion should not be made by the player. This assumes the sideline medical staff had some level of awareness (which I assume they did since its their star RB) that hew as concussed. You can’t play around with people’s brains like this.

  12. Tough guy and definitely one of the most underrated players of the past decade. He gets a bad rap from some people, but he put up great numbers behind a terrible offensive line. He was also one of the best blocking backs ever, a skill the casual football fan overlooks. I hope his good health continues.

  13. Joe Gibbs ran him into the ground, couldve been a great RB. I always wonder what couldve been if he stayed in Denver.

  14. I hope he has no long term effects of this. I also hope he has opened his eyes to the brutality of dogfighting. His whatever attitude to what vick was doing was amazing to hear.

  15. If he ever goes broke in the next couple years or so, he will be complaining of all the pain and suffering after playing in the same NFL that he just said allows him to be doing great after retiring at the “old age ” of 31. He is setting himself up by saying he played with countless concussions, unless he was asked . If he wasn’t asked then its a savvy play ,albeit hypocritical if he ends up suing the league.

  16. JC says:

    “Call me crazy but if a grown man makes a decision to risk his health, shouldn’t he be allowed to?”

    To the people who gave this comment a thumbs down…please wake up and realize that other people are not your property.

  17. Funny how Giant fans talk about being NFC east champs when were the NFC east champs and if were bums than these bums beat you twice last year and id rather be a winning bum than Giant Loser any day of the week.

  18. logicalvoicesays is at again, claiming CP to be the greatest RB of the last decade. So he’s forgotten about the likes of Ladanian Tomlinson or Adrian Peterson? Perhaps top 10, but not number 1. Please just once, say something credible.


  19. @waxxx,

    Skins split with Giants last year. Watch much football lately? And as for being losers, 2 rings in the last 5 years. How many the Skins win lately?

  20. King yeah ok your right they split but were still way better than yall The Redskins are way better. We are the future you are the past.

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