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As Of Tuesday, Clinton Portis Was In Favor Of Sellers, Communication

Posted by Matt Terl on October 9, 2009 – 5:04 pm

During Clinton Portis‘s regular Tuesday appearances on The John Thompson Show on ESPN980, you never know what you’re going to get. Last year, it seemed like Portis was using Tuesdays mainly to work out his aggressions — on the team, the coach, the radio hosts, whoever. This year, it’s mostly been the Clinton Portis Super Happy Positivity Funtime Hour.

And this week — it turns out, based on after-the-fact reports — we have Portis’s comments the day after his reported “heated exchange” with his fullback, Mike Sellers. I remembered hearing Portis’s segment on my way to Santana Moss‘s charity event Tuesday and was sure I had heard Sellers’s name mentioned, but I couldn’t recall the context.

Thank goodness for the ESPN980 Audio Vault. (Although it didn’t work for me in Firefox; I recommend using Internet Explorer for best results, and be prepared to have host Kevin Sheehan loudly try to sell you a Mercedes as soon as you get to the site.)

I re-listened to Portis’s appearance, and here’s what he had to say about the guy that he had apparently been criticizing and arguing with the day before.
The question is not necessarily about Sellers — or anyone else — at all. It’s about how Portis managed to run hard and rack up nearly a hundred yards despite not practicing for the week beforehand. Here’s Portis (except for the two spots where I wasn’t sure what he said; they’re marked):

“I think football is a mental game. You know, if you know the plays and you confident in the plays, that allows you to go out and play full speed. So, you know, missing practice, of course is, like, you don’t get that rep. But what happens in practice on the card that they draw up is really not what happens in the game.

“You know, on the card, they might have a guy [doing something I can’t hear]; in the game, he might use a spin move, he might fall … you never know. So it’s always gonna be instinct at the running back position. It’s really not a lot of timing.

“You’ve gotta press your reads, you gotta get to your [angle point, I think?] and you’ve gotta make the cut. You know, get as close as you can to your linemen and make the cut. And, fortunately for me, you know, Mike [Sellers] went through clearing up holes. And staying in and following him, you know, communicating with the linemen, communicating with [Chris] Cooley, communicating with Mike.

“I think there was a couple times I just asked the receiver, you know, ‘Run off.’ I’ll tell Coach I asked you to run off. Don’t worry about if the safety down, you know, where the safety’s playing around and all of a sudden the receiver gets caught, he’s tryin’ to crack the safety or blocking the corner man-on … it’s like, ‘If you run off, I know I got the safety. If you don’t, I don’t know where I’m getting tackled from.’

“So I think it was just a communication thing, man. It’s not goin’ out playing sandlot football and drawing it up, but just a confidence. I think the guys was at a point and wanted to run the ball, we had opportunity, it was just sticking with it.”

Make of it what you will, but in a venue where Portis has never hesitated to call someone out, he had nothing but unsolicited kind words for Sellers’ blocking.

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