- The Washington Times - Friday, October 6, 2006

Last year, he was a goal-line receiving threat — seven of his 12 catches were touchdowns and only two were longer than 4 yards.

But this year, Mike Sellers is a new kind of threat — as Clinton Portis’ lead blocker. And just like last season, Sellers is thriving in his role, helping the Washington Redskins gain 386 yards rushing in their two victories.

It has been a whirlwind for Sellers, who was visibly unhappy in mid-August when the Redskins acquired T.J. Duckett. As it turns out, Sellers has seen the same amount of playing time, if not more, because of his ability to block.

“He’s a luxury,” Portis said. “That’s like having a Phantom, Rolls Royce or Bentley. You know he won’t break down and you know he’s going to be dependable. You have to put a lot of money and time into it so I’ll have to start paying Mike on the side.”

The Redskins (2-2) rushed for 234 yards at Houston and 152 yards against Jacksonville. Against the Jaguars, Sellers pounded middle linebacker Mike Peterson and safety Donovin Darius. Portis gained 112 yards on 27 carries.

“To have him, it’s a confidence,” Portis said. “Whoever is the first guy in the hole, you know Mike’s going to wipe him out. When you can make another man on the football field that’s paid to tackle and hit run away from you, that’s exciting.”

Said Sellers: “That’s a nice compliment because he’s the one that makes my job easier because he trusts that I’m going to make my block even if it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be there. …

“I know he and I are [in a groove] and the offensive line is doing a phenomenal job. We’re all playing with a great emphasis on running the ball.”

Sellers has no rushing attempts but does have seven catches for 45 yards (no touchdowns).

Dress-up day returns

Dressed as the lead character from “Napoleon Dynamite” and calling himself “Dolemite Jenkins,” Portis returned to dressing up for his weekly media session. The outfit: Tight blue jeans, moon boots, curly wig, glasses and a T-shirt that read “Vote For Santana.”

Portis caught his teammates by surprise.

“I was shocked,” Sellers said. “He came out of the bathroom [in the outfit], I saw him and then followed him outside.”

Last year before the game at the Giants, Portis called himself “Southeast Jerome.” The Redskins lost 36-0 and Portis had four carries for 6 yards.

“Southeast Jerome came up missing and I’m still looking for him,” Dolemite said. “Somebody has to know something.”

Portis did address associate head coach-offense Al Saunders’ comment that he wasn’t happy Portis removed himself from the game for several plays in the fourth quarter Sunday against Jacksonville.

“It wasn’t me lifting myself — I was winded and I came out of the game,” Portis said. “They say, ‘If you’re not 100 percent, you should come out and give Ladell [Betts] a shot.’”

Injury report

Cornerback Shawn Springs (groin) and tight end Todd Yoder (sprained ankle) sat out practice yesterday. Yoder sustained his injury during Wednesday’s practice and is listed as probable for Sunday’s game.

Right guard Randy Thomas (hamstring) and defensive tackles Cornelius Griffin (hip) and Joe Salave’a (calf) remain probable.

Springs went through several agility drills during the opening 30 minutes of practice. Upon finishing, he turned to a group of reporters and said, “Coming soon to a field near you, fellas.” Springs remains doubtful to play on Sunday.

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