- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Clinton Portis for Champ Bailey trade isn’t looking so wonderful in Washington these days with Bailey and Denver poised for the playoffs and Portis and the Redskins down for the count. But that’s not the only “deal” in which Portis is coming up short.

Former Redskin Ifeanyi Ohalete sued Portis in Maryland District Court yesterday over his failure to pay all of the $40,000 he promised Ohalete in exchange for relinquishing No.26, which the running back had worn the previous two seasons with the Broncos.

Ohalete’s attorney, John Steren, said Portis and Ohalete signed their agreement last spring in the presence of Redskins equipment manager Brad Berlin. Portis, who will miss Sunday’s season finale because of a torn pectoral tendon, immediately paid Ohalete $20,000 and was supposed to make a pair of $10,000 payments to pay off the balance. The first deadline was Week8. The second was last week.

Steren said when Ohalete’s agents contacted Portis’ representatives about the missing $20,000, they were told that “Clinton wasn’t going to pay. Going to court is our last resort.”

If Portis continues to decline to pay Ohalete, Steren expects the case to be legally resolved within a couple of months.

Ohalete, who was cut by Washington on Aug.17 after starting most of 2002 and 2003, was claimed by Arizona the next day and has started 12 games. Ohalete isn’t wearing No.26 for the Cardinals. He wears No.25. Cornerback Robert Tate wears No.26.

Ohalete declined comment last night through agent Steve Caric. However, Ohalete made his case in a statement released by Caric.

“This is about honesty and principle,” Ohalete said. “There is no gray area on this. We made a deal and drew up a contract. I held up my end of our deal and gave him my number. All I am asking is that he does what he agreed to do, and hold up his end of the deal as well. I don’t think that is asking too much.”

Whatever the outcome of the case and the status of the perennial also-ran Redskins and Cardinals, the Portis-Ohalete legal battle should give some life to next year’s Washington-Arizona game.

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