NFL: Portis, Zorn cool off
By Joseph White
ASHBURN, Va. ó The rookie head coach and the flamboyant running back reached a smiling truce Wednesday, with Clinton Portis announcing that he’s “cool with everything” and that he has no plans to sever ties with the Washington Redskins.
Portis and coach Jim Zorn held a 10-minute meeting early in the day to discuss Portis’ blistering comments made during a radio interview Tuesday. After practice, the two strong personalities took turns explaining what happened ó with the caveat that, as Portis put it, “We both got egos.”
“It was something on my chest that I needed to get off,” Portis said. “I had some stuff built up. I was itching to air it out. After we talked, we’re on the same page.”
Miffed over his lack of playing time in last week’s 24-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Portis used his radio airtime on WTEM-AM to accuse Zorn of sending mixed messages. He also sarcastically called Zorn a “genius,” spoke of the possibility of severing ties with the organization and said of the coaching staff: “I don’t think they know what they want me to do.”
The searing words threatened to become Zorn’s first major locker-room crisis heading into Sunday’s must-win game against the Bengals. It doesn’t help the coach’s case that the Redskins (7-6) have lost four of five to fall to last place in the NFC East, or that Portis ó Washington’s second all-time leading rusher ó is a favorite of owner Dan Snyder.
“It’s all about losing,” Zorn said. “Winning doesn’t bring all of this out. Losing does. You know what remedies all this? Winning.”
The issue boiled down to communication. Zorn felt Portis should have approached the coaching staff before going public with his grievances. Portis implied the whole issue would have been avoided if Zorn had spoken to him Monday.
Regardless, they both appeared ready to put their tiff aside.
“We’re not going to sever ties,” Portis said.
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