MIAMI, Fla. -- After playing nine seasons in the NFL, Clinton Portis is enjoying retirement.
Clinton Portis signs an autograph for a fan Saturday at Best Buy.
Portis, 31, officially retired in August as the 27th leading rusher in NFL history with 9,923 yards and his 75 rushing touchdowns ranks 22nd.
The two-time Pro Bowler played for the Denver Broncos (2002-03) and Washington Redskins (2004-10) after helping lead the University of Miami to its fifth national championship in 2001.
“For myself I had to play within some legendary places like the Washington Redskins, Denver Broncos and probably the best college that you could ever play football at the University of Miami,” Portis said.
Although injuries caused him to miss 19 of his final 32 games, Portis has had a smooth transition into retirement.
“Actually it is easy with the adjustment to just walk away,” he said. “I think it becomes uneasy when you’re not in position to live the way you want to live. For myself I made enough and did enough, I’m cool. The transition to the after-life--there’s so many opportunities, so much to be well-rounded and have so much that you can participate in, it’s figuring out a way to spread yourself thin because there’s always something to do in different cities anywhere you go.
“You kind of want to keep from spreading yourself thin and still have a happy medium to staying busy because when you’re engulfed in ball, you’re on a set schedule for so long. Then all of a sudden you have all kind of free time on your hand and you get bored so you have to dodge trouble. When you get bored, what’s the first thing you do? Spend money so you just have to keep yourself occupied. I have kids so I hang with the kids a lot. The transition for me has been smooth.”
Saturday, Portis took part in a promotional event at the Best Buy at Dadeland Mall in Miami for ESPN and Xbox as the two companies are working to promote their new ‘ESPN on Xbox’ feature. Portis signed autographs and posed for photographs with fans, many of which were UM fans.
“It’s cool,” Portis said. “Every ball player is an ESPN fanatic so to have this opportunity for them ask to represent South Florida, this was the Best Buy that I always went to because it’s right down the street from UM so it’s liking coming back home.”
ESPN on Xbox split-screen display
Portis, who starred at Gainesville High School, has resided in Miami ever since he stepped foot on campus in 1999. Throughout his career he was always praised for his candid interviews so it’s not a surprise to some that he has been spending time on a radio show with former Miami Dolphin Channing Crowder on WQAM. Although, Portis is a bit surprised that he’s enjoyed being on the media side of sports.
“That’s something that I didn’t really think I’d want to participate in, but the more I do it, the more fun it gets,” Portis said. “I’ve been a lifelong sports fan with Heat season tickets, Canes season tickets, I always go to Redskins games and still being involved in the community without being the face of it.”
Portis played three seasons at Miami rushing for 2,523 yards and 20 touchdowns in 29 games. He ranks fourth on UM’s all-time rushing list behind Ottis Anderson, Edgerrin James, and James Jackson.
After leading the team as a freshman and splitting time with Jackson as a sophomore, Portis broke through as a junior rushing for 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns as he helped lead Miami to a national title. He earned all-Big East honors and was a third-team All-American his junior season, which would be his final campaign as he left early for the NFL Draft.
“Not knowing what we were a part of at the time we were and that‘s going to forever last,” Portis said. “Just to come through the ‘U’ at that time it can’t be taken away and people will always remember.”
Portis was a part of Miami’s most influential time in sending players to the NFL. Twice during Portis’ tenure in the league, three former Hurricanes finished in the top 10 in rushing as James and Willis McGahee joined him as a top rusher.
“When you come out of this program I think it’s a confidence for the transition to be prepared and ready,” Portis said. “How does that happen that so many players come out of this program and transition to the NFL to be so successful? You can’t pinpoint it. Think how much talent Florida, Florida State, Ohio State, and USC has, but their players get to the NFL and be average. When players come out of the ‘U’, look at Sam Shields and the transition. He wasn’t even playing here and then all of a sudden you get to Green Bay and you’re going to (potentially go to) the Pro Bowl. It’s just the attitude, the pipeline, and the arrogance. When you get your moment to shine you don’t want to let it go. You look at Jimmy Graham, Shields, and how successful they were and didn’t do it here.”
In Part II of the feature with Portis to be released later this week, he discusses memories from his playing days at UM including what it was like to be in a crowded backfield and playing with an attitude that enabled him to be successful.
About ESPN on Xbox
The new ESPN on Xbox was launched in November, which delivers HD-quality live programming and events in an interactive experience. ESPN on Xbox will have live content from ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3, and ESPN Goal Line/Buzzer Beater to Xbox LIVE Gold members.
Some of the features include a split screen, mini guide, news and score updates, and a personalized section that users can select their favorite sports and teams.