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Clinton Portis Had A Good Game On The Sidelines

Posted by Matt Terl on November 16, 2010 – 1:00 am

I’m starting with something positive. Call me Matty Sunshine if you want, but I heard exactly one positive story in the postgame locker room tonight, and I’m going with that one first. There’ll be plenty of negativity out there, and I promise I’ll get to covering some of that myself. But for right now, here’s the one nice story I heard from this absolute abomination of a game.

Keiland Williams would finish the night as the only player named on my Very Short List Of Good Things About This Game — with 139 total yards and 3 combined touchdowns — but he started it as the number two running back on a two-deep depth chart.

When Ryan Torain aggravated his hamstring injury during pregame warmups, that plan changed, and when the team came back into the locker room after warmups, head coach Mike Shanahan told Williams that he was going to be the guy.

That Williams had some success on the field is a small good thing, yes, but he was happy to share the credit, and that was the really nice story.

When I saw the inactive Clinton Portis pregame, he looked like this:

That’s Portis on the left, in casual clothes and sunglasses.

When Williams scored his first touchdown, Portis — according to Homer McFanboy — was the first guy to leap onto the field and congratulate him; by that point, Portis was wearing Redskins sideline gear. I’ll let WIlliams explain why that outfit change is significant, picking his story up just after he found out about the switch at running back.

“Clinton actually did a great thing,” Williams said. “Clinton was gonna — I think — either go in the suites or stay on the sideline outside the box. Then when he found out I was starting, he put on his gear so he was able to sit on the sideline just to kinda be out there with me, calm me down a little bit.”

And, Williams said, it actually helped. “Anytime you can be around a guy that’s been in the league, had success, been to Pro Bowls, and you see that he actually cares for the people in his group … that definitely says a lot, and that definitely comforts you.”

Portis didn’t say much, according to Williams. “He was just like, ‘You’re getting the start, just go out there and just show out tonight.'”

And that, really, is where the happy story ends, because Williams didn’t feel like he was able to take Portis’ advice. “Nah,” he said, “I wouldn’t say that. I had some good plays throughout the game but overall I don’t feel like I played a good game at all.”

Which is pretty unfortunate, since he was probably the best offensive player the Redskins had. Even so, it’s still a good depiction of Clinton Portis’s underrated leadership skills, and it was also literally the only happy thing I heard in the locker room on a grim night.

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