During Clinton Portis nearly 30-minute retirement speech, the former Redskins running back cried, laughed and teared up some more as he addressed an auditorium filled with former teammates, coaches and current players.
Im closing a chapter in my life that I knew had to end one day, Portis said. I just never knew when it would end.
Today, he added, is that day.
Portis, who has not played a down in the NFL since 2010, officially hung up his cleats Thursday. The 30-year-old retired second on the Redskins all-time lists for rushing yards (6,824), carries (1,667) and rushing touchdowns (46), while his 1,516 and 1,487 yard seasons in 2005 and 2008 are the teams top single-season performances.
On Friday, Portis will be among the 10 players voted by fans and a panel to join the 70 greatest Redskins, owner Dan Snyder announced. Snyder joined Portis at the dais.
Hes one of the greatest 80 Redskins of all time, one of the greatest in the NFLs history, Snyder said.
Some highlights from Portis speech:
--Portis choked up before he began speaking and again when he talked about the sacrifices his parents made so he could have the things he wanted. His mother worked long hours at a nursing home, while his father drove a truck.
--Although hes known as much for his wacky press conference costumes as much as his accomplishments on the field, Portis said he does not have a favorite character. Southeast Jerome and Dolla Bill, Sheriff Gonna Getcha, he said, all served an important purpose.
To me, each character represented how I was feeling at that time, Portis said. Each character represented what we needed at that moment to get through. All of them were fun.
--During his college recruitment, Portis said he had made up his mind to attend Maryland. His mom, however, wasnt having it.
I remember telling my mom Im going to college and Im going to Maryland, he said. From that moment on, she didnt answer a University of Maryland football call and she threw away all the mail. I walked in the house and I said, Did any coaches call? She said, yeah, Miami. I said, Thats it? She said, Thats only one I could remember.
Portis concluded: I kind of realized then that my destiny was Miami.
--At the 2003 ESPYs, he struck up a conversation backstage with a man he did not know. Portis recalled confiding in him, I feel like they dont want to pay me, Portis said to the man, referring to the Broncos.
The man told Portis, Dont worry about money, play the game the way you play it, have fun and enjoy it. I didnt know it was; they vanished into the sunset.
Portis later learned the man was Snyder, whose Redskins traded for him prior to the 2004 season.
--Asked if he had a favorite moment in his nine-year career, Portis said those moments arrived every Sunday right before kickoff, in the tunnel with fellow Miami alums Santana Moss and the late Sean Taylor.
Moments in the tunnel, where me Santana and Sean lined up in the back, knowing that we was running on the field together to represent the Washington Redskins, the University of Miami and to give everyone hope that wanted to play this game, that we were going to play this game the right way, he said.
--Asked if he deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame, Portis said he would leave that to the media to decide.
That would be a great feat, he said. If they could add my biggest attribute, which was heart, I would definitely be there. For the just the numbers, Im not sure. Thats for you all to decide.
--Portis also recalled his arguments with Taylor over which of them had the hardest hit in Sundays game.
The truth would be, Portis said, I always thought he hit harder than me. And I always thought he had the better play.
A lot of me left with Sean, he added.
In a lot of ways, Portis farewell which he delivered without a note in his hand mirrored his career. It was impressive, emotional and high on entertainment value.
I hope in my time as a Washington Redskin that I left an impression on enough people for them to say Clinton Portis was a stand up guy, he said. Clinton Portis was a hell of a worker, that Clinton Portis gave everything he had and left everything he had on the field. Thats fine with me.