Portis OK with more RBs if it means wins

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Portis OK with more RBs if it means wins

Two days after getting benched on first and second downs in favor of the unproven Ryan Torain in the second half of a surprising 30-16 loss at St. Louis, Clinton Portis didn't lash out at coach Mike Shanahan. Far from it.

In fact, the Redskins' No. 1 running back for the last seven seasons was positively at peace when asked during his weekly radio appearance if he expects to start in Sunday's NFC East matchup at Philadelphia.

"I have no idea, and I don't think it matters," said Portis, who carried seven times for 44 early yards against the Rams but was given the ball just once during the final three quarters. "I'm going forward and preparing, and if my number's called, I'm going to go out on the field and do what I can to help the team. If not, I'm going to cheer on my teammates and congratulate whoever it is, and if we're winning, I'm going to smile like everyone else."

Not that Portis, who's nearing Hall of Famer John Riggins' franchise rushing record thinks he's nearing the end at 29.

"I always think of myself as the No. 1 back and always prepare myself as the No. 1 back," said Portis, who fended off summer challenges from fellow former Pro Bowl backs Larry Johnson and Willie Parker, each of whom has been released. "When it comes to competition, I'm feel like I'm going to outplay anybody and on the opposing team. I think what I have done for my team the last nine years, you can tell the difference in the games when I'm in or out. What I do for my team, and the excitement level of what I give on the field is always better than the next guy."

A day after Shanahan said that Portis went down on a 27-yard run because his right hand was bothering him, the running back concurred that he was afraid of fumbling.

"I did fall on purpose," Portis admitted. "There are five Rams players behind me, and no Redskins. All week long, we was coached to sacrifice yardage for the ball. Them being some of the top strippers in the NFL, I really couldn't see around me and to continue to fight for a few extra yards and risk losing the ball when we were trying to get momentum, that's not thinking about the team."

Asked if the play showed that he was soft, as some have charged, Portis, known as one of the best blockers among running backs, didn't get angry.

"People are going to believe what they want to believe," he said. "If you ever see me back down from any man on the football field, then my time is up in this league. ... I'm going to look any man eye-to-eye and try to give it to him."

Tagged: Redskins, Clinton Portis

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