Portis gives Shanahan a 'thumbs-up vote'

Jim Zorn still has two more games remaining as the Redskins' head coach, but if the team opts to make a change, former Denver coach Mike Shanahan has already received an endorsement from the team's unofficial "assistant general manager." Injured running back Clinton Portis said today "if they have a change, then of course they would get the thumbs-up vote for me for Coach Shanahan."

"If Coach Zorn is done, I would think that's a great direction to go in, if you can get Coach Shanahan," Portis said during his weekly appearance on "The John Thompson Show" on ESPN 980. "But I don't know if Coach Zorn will be gone."

Portis, who hasn't played since suffering a concussion Nov. 8 and was placed on the season-ending injured reserve liston Dec. 8, said he thinks he could again be an effective running back under Shanahan. Portis began his career playing for Shanahan in Denver, where he twice topped 1,500 yards and scored a combined 31 touchdowns in two seasons. He has topped 1,500 yards just once in six seasons in Washington and has never matched his Broncos touchdown numbers.

"You've seen my track record with Mike Shanahan," Portis said.

With Jon Gruden choosing to remain in the ESPN broadcast booth in 2010 and Mike Holmgren accepting a front-office position in Cleveland, Shanahan seems to be the likely front-runner. Redskins secondary coach Jerry Gray has also interviewed, according to multiple sources.

Portis said that he never had a problem with Shanahan, and that he left Denver on his terms.

"Mike Shanahan gave me an opportunity. He asked me, man-to-man, 'Do you want to be here? We can pay you and we'll keep you here. Or if you feel like you want to leave, I will allow that.' So I chose to leave," Portis said.
Since suffering a concussion, Portis has said on multiple occasions that the Redskins would face major changes at season's end, and he wasn't certain he'd fit into the team's plans beyond 2009. Speaking today for the first time since Bruce Allen was hired as general manager last week, Portis acknowledged the team's evaluation process and offered an endorsement for himself and his abilities.

"I think my evaluation would be great," he said. "It just depends on how people feel about you. I'll leave that up to them to decide."

Portis was asked what advice he'd offer Allen in that evaluation process, and it seemed like he'd already given the matter some thought.

"I think you find your playmakers and you put the game on them," he said. "You find out the niches of each of your playmakers and you feed them. ...We got so much talent and as a team, to be in this situation, to not have a go-to guy -- Who's our go-to guy? Who's our bread-and-butter guy? I don't think you can identify that.

"Yesterday I was thinking, 'Who's going to win our offensive MVP at our Redskins' luncheon next year?' So who do you give that to? When you have a quesiton of who your MVP is on offense, I think that's a tough year. Just find a guy and make that your guy. Everybody else got to contribute around him."

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