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.”