Clinton Portis walked onto the practice fields at Redskin Park yesterday with a familiar number on his jersey, a wide smile on his face and a considerably lighter wallet in his locker.
After three months of heavy negotiations, Portis finally convinced Washington Redskins safety Ifeanyi Ohalete to give up his No.26 uniform. It cost the star tailback a pretty penny, though, to recoup the number he used to wear with the Denver Broncos.
Neither Portis nor Ohalete would reveal specifics of the transaction. Ohalete, who will wear the recently released Trung Canidate’s No.30, wouldn’t talk about the switch at all.
The final dollar figure was a hot topic around the locker room yesterday, with one club source putting the amount at a cool $45,000.
The way Portis joked about it, there might have been more involved than a simple exchange of cash.
“I bought him a car, I’m letting him use my house, have a couple house parties, I think I have to buy him a 12-pack for every home game,” Portis said. “There were some negotiations involved.”
Miffed that the team unilaterally gave Portis the No.26 jersey at his introductory press conference in March, Ohalete had refused to give it up. He continued to wear his old number at the spring’s first two minicamps, with Portis relegated first to No.3 and then No.6.
But Ohalete, who has lost his starting job to first-round draft pick Sean Taylor, finally succumbed to Portis’ offer, leaving the cocksure running back feeling like his old self again.
“Superman’s not Superman when he doesn’t have his cape,” Portis said. “I finally got my cape back, so I feel like Superman.”
Tentative camp schedule
Coach Joe Gibbs said he’s planning to hold a three-day passing camp July 26-28, with the rest of the team reporting for training camp at Redskin Park on July 30. The club would hold it’s first two-a-day practices on Saturday, July 31, though that schedule is subject to change.
If Gibbs sticks to the plan, the Redskins will have only nine days of practices before taking the field Aug. 9 for their preseason opener against Denver in the nationally televised Hall of Fame Game at Canton, Ohio.
Gibbs offered high praise for wide receiver James Thrash, who re-signed with the Redskins after spending the last three years in Philadelphia. Though Washington already had a deep receiving corps, Gibbs couldn’t wait to sign Thrash when he became available.
“That guy will give you everything he’s got on every play,” Gibbs said of Thrash, who played in Washington from 1997 to 2000. “Some guys cut their careers short because they’re trying to do this or that, and they don’t get it. This guy gets it. … I probably went overboard there, but obviously I like the guy.” …
Gibbs and his staff had their first real opportunity to see the entire roster practice yesterday. Only three players missed the session: tight end Robert Royal and cornerback Walt Harris, who have knee injuries, and fullback Rock Cartwright, who was excused because of a death in the family.
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