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Portis: 'I Need a Ring or Two'

Clinton Portis has his lighter moments, of course, such as when he dresses up in those goofy costumes and makes up his famous characters. Actually, what comes to mind is the now infamous "Jerome" from Southeast D.C.

In addition to his baroque get-ups, Portis sometimes has a vivid way of expressing himself in language. Case in point: What Portis had to say at the recent mini-camp at Redskins Park.

In late June, Portis looked around at all the talent his team has assembled on the offensive side of ball. He saw newcomers such as wide receivers Antwaan Randle El and Brandon Lloyd. He spotted new coach Al Saunders. He looked around and saw skilled holdovers such as Santana Moss and Chris Cooley.

What's an opposing defense to do in 2006? Responded Portis: "They'll have to pick their poison."

In other words, there will be many potential paths for the Redskins' offense in 2006. You can bet Portis will not be on the road less traveled.

A year ago, in his second season in Washington, the 5-11, 212-pound running back became the frachise's single-season rushing champion with 1,516 yards. Stephen Davis had held the mark, with 1,432 rushing yards in 2001.

The first time Portis touched the ball as a Redskin, you'll recall, he set the bar exceptionally high with a 64-yard TD scamper versus Tampa Bay. That came in a 16-10 Redskins win in the 2004 opener at FedExField.

What lies ahead for him as a possible target could be this: re-establishing himself as one of the game's most prolific touchdown makers.

With Denver, Portis found his way to the end zone 31 times in his first two seasons in the league. He slipped to seven scores for the Redskins of 2004 and jumped back up to 12 last year.

In Saunders' way of doing things, a great deal is possible for an offense. Portis may have a chance to be a bona fide end zone visitor once again, as he was for the Broncos in 2002 and 2003.

Larry Johnson, although much bigger than Portis at 6-1 and 230, tore it up for Saunders in Kansas City last year with 20 rushing touchdowns.

Here's the question: Now that Portis has surpassed Stephen Davis, will there came a day when he'll challenge for the team's mark for most touchdowns in a season?

Admittedly, we're considering a stat way off on the horizon: John Riggins (24 TDs, 1983). Next are Terry Allen (21 TDs, 1996) and George Rogers (18 TDs, 1986).

Of course, it would be serious stuff (as to opposed to merely "Jerome" from Southeast D.C., playfulness) if Portis could venture closer to Riggins, Allen or Rogers in this regard.

Asked about what his spot in 2006, Portis predicted at mini-camp that some Redskins offensive players were in for "spectacular" seasons.

On his role, he added, with tongue in cheek: "Hopefully, the only thing that changes for me, is that by the third quarter I'll be on the sidelines with my hat turned back waving at the cameras saying, We'll see you all next week.'"

Pressed on the matter, he added: "I'm looking forward to a couple 90 yarders this year. I have to hit some home runs.

"We have a great guy they put behind me, in Ladell Betts, and a great guy behind him, with Rock [Cartwright]. The more opportunities they get, the more they play, the better they do. That's more pressure taken off of me. I'm not selfish. All I want to do is win. I know what it's like to be the most popular, and I don't care about any of that. I need a ring or two."

In 2005, rare was the occasion when Portis was kept in check. He piled up nine 100-yard rushing games and finished in strong fashion in the NFC East run versus Dallas, the Giants and Philadelphia.

As to whether he'll ever achieve additional franchise records, Portis says it would be nice but at the same time not essential.

"All of the stats don't matter," insists Portis. "Every year, you're going to have a guy come in from college who feels like he's the best running back in the game. Right now, all of the stats and the publicity don't really matter. All that matters is wins."

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