So is this the end of the line for Clinton Portis?
In Washington, it might be. His team, the Washington Redskins, will owe him $8.3 million in salary next season, but injuries limited Portis to just five games in 2010 – and coach Mike Shanahan made it clear he won't come back at such a high price.
According to Jason Reid of the Washington Post, Shanahan will allow Portis, who turns 30 years old next season, to test the free agent market. But it doesn't mean he won't return.
"With a guy with a high salary cap, I've always dealt with it a little differently," Shanahan said at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. "If we're not going to sign Clinton to that high salary, I'll let him test the market out. Not to say we don't want him, but for a lower price, and obviously we'll try to find the best deal. It could happen. I don't want to say right now. If I said that, usually I'm being pretty honest with you. Could be two days from now, could be three days from now."
Portis has more than 9,900 career rushing yards and 75 touchdowns, but groin and abdominal injuries limited him to five games this season and just one game after Oct. 3. He reportedly tore a lower abdominal muscle Nov. 21 against the Tennessee Titans and went on injured reserve. It marked the second consecutive year he's ended a season on IR.
Portis, talking on 106.7 FM in Washington, said he's spoken with Shanahan and understands the coach's feelings.
"There is no reaction," Portis said, according to the Post. "This is a business. You've got to understand that."
He also said, "I don't think the Redskins owe me anything. I enjoyed my time in D.C. I think I made the most of time here. I'm appreciative of everything they've done for me. I had a good time and enjoyed myself. If it's time to move on, I'll do that."
Portis might have difficulty finding another employer. Running backs have short shelf lives in the NFL, and given his injury history and the fact he's touched the ball almost 2,500 times in nine seasons, most teams might choose to pass on him.
If he's willing to play for a lot less, however, the Redskins are always an option.
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