There was a clear division between what new Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said about QB Jason Campbell and RB Clinton Portis, both of whom have questionable futures in Washington. Shanahan's comments on Campbell, a free-agent-to-be, were outwardly positive.
"I am looking forward to working with him," he said. "I just love the way Jason handles himself. I am looking forward to sitting down and watching film and going through every play that he has had throughout his career and sitting down and talking to him ... and hopefully the best years are ahead. That is a process that will take some time."
On Portis, though, Shanahan was far more guarded. "I've got to go back and look at all of the film. Just to watch a game and not be around Clinton in the offseason program, not watching him on a day-to-day basis, judging him would not be fair to him, and not be fair to you.
"Like all players, as they get older, the key is how they work in the offseason program, and what they do to make themselves better as veterans. I've been around some veterans that have been very successful, and all of a sudden they quit working out, and as a running back you can fall off of a cliff. If you make a commitment that you're going to be the best that you can possibly be, or you've got the passion and the work ethic to be as good as you can possibly be, then you've got a chance to be something special.
"Looking at Clinton a year ago, in the first half of the season, you could see how well he played. To say that right now, with the injuries and what's happened, would be obviously premature at this time. I do love his toughness. He was obviously very productive when he was with Denver."
The comments clearly make reference to Portis working out on his own in Miami the past few years as opposed to with the Redskins during the offseason. We'll see if he even gets a chance with Shanahan, who once traded Portis in the prime of his career when the two were in Denver together.
A recent incident in which Portis questioned Campbell's leadership on a radio show drove a spike between the players, we hear, but Portis contacted Campbell to apologize and clear the air. It probably has no bearing on whether they return or not, but it could be a factor if both remain with the Redskins next season.
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