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Emotional Portis closes book on NFL career

Emotional Portis closes book on NFL career

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.

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A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

A Redskin fan's guide to the NFL Draft Combine

This week in Indianapolis the NFL world will converge at the Scouting Combine to watch college football players work out, sprint and lift weights in anticipation of the upcoming draft. For the Redskins front office, this draft needs to be a win.

The 2016 Draft could still yield strong results for Washington, but overall the class did not play particularly well as rookies. This year, Scot McCloughan has nine picks at his disposal, with the extra picks late in the draft in the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds.

It's no secret that the 'Skins need help along the defensive line, a lot of help. That should be a major area of focus for the Redskins scouts and coaches, and that will make next Sunday arguably the most important of the week in Indianapolis. 

The combine divides players into 11 position groups, but Groups 7, 8 and 9 will matter most. Groups 7 and 8 represent defensive linemen and 9 are the linebackers. That group officially arrives on Thursday but won't work out on the field until Sunday. The days in between include interviews, psychological testing and the bench press.

Obviously the Redskins won't spend all nine picks on only defensive linemen. The team will likely invest in the offensive line as well, and that group will arrive earlier in the week and work out on Friday. Cornerbacks and safeties are the last to work out on Monday, March 6. 

With the likely departure of at least one of DeSean Jackson or Pierre Garçon, and the possible departure of both, it would make sense for the 'Skins to bring in another receiver via the draft. They work out on Saturday, and should the Redskins decide to take a quarterback in the draft, the passers will work out that day too. 

Running back could be another spot the 'Skins invest. Jay Gruden said that Robert Kelley is locked into the RB1 role, but still the team might want increased competition at the position. The backs will work out Friday.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

Why won’t Redskins brass talk to the media at the NFL Combine?

The NFL has released the official schedule of when NFL coaches and executives will take the podium and address the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. You can find it right here but I’ll save you a click—nobody from the Redskins is scheduled to talk.

NFL teams are not required to have a representative speak at the combine but most do. This year only the Saints and Patriots are joining the Redskins in avoiding the media.

Bill Belichick never talks at the combine and I believe that the Saints have bypassed the opportunity to do so in the past. However, the Redskins head coach traditionally has gone to the podium in the past. Joe Gibbs spoke when he was in his second stint as the head coach. Mike Shanahan, as tight lipped as anyone, met with the press in Indy each of his four years as head coach. Jay Gruden has spoken during each of the three years that he has been head coach.

RELATED: NFL Mock Draft Version 3.0

And last year Scot McCloughan held a small media gaggle with local reporters in his hotel in Indianapolis.

This year the Redskins are going somewhat dark. McCloughan did not speak to reporters at the Senior Bowl (Gruden held a brief availability in Mobile), a departure from his first two years with the team. And now no Redskins representatives at the combine.

One of the problems with changing what has been a longstanding practice and going into radio silence is that it leaves people speculating. If the team doesn’t want to put any information out there that is the organization’s option. But if you choose not to fill in the blanks, the fans and media will.

So why aren’t they talking? The best bet is that they are in a delicate stage when it comes to dealing with the future of quarterback Kirk Cousins. He is a pending free agent who is likely to be hit with the franchise tag on Wednesday, the day before the combine starts. At that point, the clock will be ticking on Cousins either signing a long-term contract or getting traded to a team that is willing to meet his asking price. It’s my guess that Jay Gruden does not want to face questions about Cousins’ future.

More Redskins: #RedskinsTalk podcast: Is Kirk too nice for his own good?

Gruden is not a very good liar; his poker face needs a lot of work. Perhaps that is a good quality for a human being but not a very good attribute for someone who would need to go out and talk about Cousins as the long-term quarterback for the team, or at least the QB for the coming season, when his status may be very much in doubt.

This is not to say that there is definitely going to be a trade of Cousins worked out at the combine. But it is very possible that a deal will be discussed with Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers and any number of other quarterback-needy teams. And perhaps there is concern that Gruden will let something slip or, more likely, say a lot on the subject of Cousins by not saying anything.

Again, this is just reading the tea leaves on my part. But by going silent the Redskins are sending an invitation for people to fill in the blanks. I am just taking them up on it.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.