- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Clinton Portis’ season is over, and although he’s confident he will play next year, he realizes it may not be with the Washington Redskins.

The Redskins placed Portis on injured reserve Tuesday because of a concussion suffered Nov. 8 in a loss at Atlanta. His last hope of returning this year was dashed when a Pittsburgh doctor wouldn’t clear him to play because of concern about his vision.

Depending on whether there’s a salary cap and who’s coaching the team, Portis’ six-year stay in the District may have reached its end.

“I would love to have the opportunity [to stay],” he said during his weekly appearance on ESPN 980’s “The John Thompson Show.” “Do I think there’s going to be changes? I do. If I’m part of that change, will I be sad and devastated? I won’t. I’m appreciative of everything [Dan] Snyder and the Washington Redskins have given me.”

Portis wasn’t the only Redskins veteran making news Tuesday. Earlier in the day, the team released kicker Shaun Suisham, who missed a 23-yard field goal Sunday that would have sealed a victory over New Orleans. To replace him, Washington signed rookie Graham Gano.

Portis said he was hoping to return for division home games against the New York Giants and Dallas.

“I came up here [to Pittsburgh] hoping to be cleared and start resuming activity, and the doctor said he wasn’t going to do it,” he said. “He didn’t like what he saw.”

Portis’ agent and the Redskins said they expect him to play next year.

“After speaking with Clinton’s doctors, I have been assured that he will make a complete recovery in time for the 2010 season,” agent Drew Rosenhaus wrote on his Twitter page. “The decision to place Clinton on I.R. is purely a precaution, and he will be ready for 2010 and beyond. We are very optimistic about his Redskins future.”

In a statement released by the team, vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato said: “After consulting with our medical staff and other specialists, Clinton’s prognosis is good, and we expect him to make a full recovery and return to the Redskins.”

Portis was acquired for Champ Bailey in one of Joe Gibbs’ first moves upon returning to the Redskins in 2004. His 6,597 rushing yards are only 875 behind franchise leader John Riggins.

Portis’ season ends with just one rushing touchdown in eight games. He averaged 4.0 yards a carry, but 112 of his 494 yards came on two carries. Ladell Betts seemed to represent an upgrade until he tore ligaments in his knee.

With 2,176 regular-season carries of wear and tear and now a concussion to recover from, Portis on the radio acknowledged he may be reaching the end.

“If it’s my time and I look back today, I think I’ve had a great career,” he said. “I’m 28, man. I’m not going to be devastated - ‘Oh, man, football is over.’ The day I look back on my career, I’ll enjoy the highlights. I think I’ll get well. I have to put the time into rehabbing and continuing to do what the doctors say.”

Suisham’s season took a turn for the worse Sunday. He leaves as the most accurate kicker in franchise history (making 81 of 101 field goals for 80.2 percent), and he made his first 13 kicks this year. But after two misses at Dallas two games ago and the misfire against the Saints, the Redskins decided to make the move. Sunday’s miss was Suisham’s first from inside 30 yards in his career.

“We let a good kicker go down the road,” coach Jim Zorn said on his radio show. “Shaun has performed very well. I know he’ll be upset - he should be. There’s accountability here. We’re all accountable for our season.”

The Redskins made the decision after Gano, Nick Novak, Mike Nugent and Shane Andrus tried out Tuesday morning. Gano, 22, was 13-for-16 on field goals for the United Football League’s Las Vegas Locomotives. He clinched the championship with a 33-yard field goal in overtime Nov. 27.

“[Gano] clearly had the strongest leg,” Zorn said. “He looks like he has some potential.”

Gano was in Baltimore’s training camp this preseason but lost a competition to Steve Hauschka. Last year’s Lou Groza Award winner at Florida State, Gano was a first-team All-American and converted 24 of 26 field goals as a senior.

“This guy has some real talent,” Zorn said. “The exciting part for him is that he gets a real opportunity to kick in live situations.”

Also, the Redskins signed receiver James Robinson to the practice squad and released receiver Keith Eloi. Robinson has spent time this season on the practice squads for Cleveland and Miami.


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