Clinton Portis On The Disgruntled ‘Skins Locker Room: “If a guy is scared in the locker room he is going to always play scared.”After six coaches through the first ten seasons as owner of the Washington Redskins, Daniel Snyder has turned his franchise over to the two-time Super Bowl champion coach Mike Shanahan in hopes of bringing home another Lombardi Trophy to D.C. Snyder hand-picked Shanahan to turn the franchise around, but he hasn’t exactly done that. In fact, he has done the complete opposite. Known for his brash personality but great football mind, Shanahan has made his presence felt thus far and has players in that locker room scared for their job security. Not all players can play for him, nor do they want to, and I understand that, but the way that he has gone about things this season by dragging Albert Haynesworth through the mud and by benching Donovan McNabb is ridiculous! McNabb is a future Hall of Famer and has done all that has been asked of him this season, and by benching him, other players are wondering if they will be next. To me that isn’t exactly the way one should run an NFL franchise, but I guess you have to hit rock bottom before you get back to the top.Clinton Portis joined 106.7 the Fan in DC to talk about what kind of sense he got from the rest of the locker room when they heard Donovan McNabb was benched for the rest of the season, whether the players play scared once they get out onto the field, and whether coaches should treat players with respect instead of thinking players are a bunch of nobodies.
What kind of sense he got from the rest of the locker room when they heard Donovan McNabb was benched for the rest of the season:
“In the locker room, I think that would scare a lot of guys, you know, that Donovan McNabb who has proven to do so much and has done so much in the NFL gets benched. I think it becomes a thing in the locker room, like, man if they benched Donovan anybody can be benched or ‘Am I next’ or ‘what’s next?’ so I think guys are playing for safety. That has really been a big part of the problem around here, people start playing for safety so it’s like, and ‘I got to play safe and sound.’ Instead of going out on the limb and making plays, you know its like, ‘I need to do what they say. I don’t want to be outside the box, I want to make sure I did everything I possibly could to save myself.Instead of just laying it on the line and dealing with it at the end of the season, if they are done with you there isn’t much you can do.
If you go out there and leave it on the line and I think Donovan did that, banged up and all every day.Since training camp Donovan has been in that training room getting worked on. Has not missed a snap in practice and hasn’t taken a day off. Then all of the sudden you get to this point and it’s like he is kind of beat up and he ain’t moving well, but I mean he hasn’t been moving well all season long.I think the positive that came out of that is Rex got an opportunity to go out there and play and showed he is capable of playing and capable of leading the team up and down the field and guiding the team up and down the field, and actually began a great comeback. You know you give players a chance but at the same time you put so much insecurity in some players in the locker room that becomes worries who can’t take on the idea of this is a game. If they are going to change, they are going to change. There isn’t much you can do.”
Whether the players play scared once they get out onto the field:
I mean if a guy is scared in the locker room he is going to always play scared. He is not going to go out and just let go. You don’t see the flying around. You don’t see the gelling. You don’t see the people fighting, you know. If Donovan is in a position to get benched, you know, or you hear the talk that you did all you could to go out and help Donovan not caring about myself, just making sure I can help him perform to the best of his abilities no matter what I was doing. If I am a receiver, I am going to try and focus and catch Donovan’s balls. If I am a lineman I am going to keep my man off of me. If I am a running back I am going to do all that I can to take the pressure off. I think when guys playing scared it is more based upon, well I got to make sure that I am straight instead of worrying about Donovan. As much as Donovan has given and as much as Donovan has done, instead of saying, well I got to go out here and make sure I help him, I think it becomes, I need to go out here and take care of myself.”
Whether coaches should treat players with respect instead of thinking players are a bunch of nobodies:
I don’t think, for myself, I don’t think Coach Shanahan would just have been disrespectful. We don’t know what led up to it or what information was given amongst them or how their conversation went so I really couldn’t comment on that, but I think all coaches should show players respect and I think players should show coaches respect because at the end of the day you are just a grown man. Unless you are the owner of the team, and he is still a grown man, I think when you step into that situation its respect. Having respect for the people that you work around. Have respect for the people that you work with and even having respect for your teammates. I think that is the one thing that separates our locker room because there are so many people who don’t know other work that guys put in like a Rock Cartwright, you know just using Rocky as an example, if you had seen the work that Rock did when I was out of practice and participating on all the special teams, taking the snaps at running back up and down the field hard every day I think he has the respect of everybody in our locker room. James Thrash had the respect of everybody in our locker room but when you have got constant change it is kind of hard. The people going in don’t know how hard this guy worked for what this guy put in and by the time they do I think it is at that point where I have got to take care of myself. I can’t worry about him, so that keeps the locker room separated.”