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Portis Holdup

Postby thelongestyard » Thu Feb 05, 2004 10:34 am

Article Published: Thursday, February 05, 2004
broncos
Portis lays down law

If Broncos don't make new deal, RB may hold out

By Adam Schefter
Denver Post Sports Writer


Post / Helen Richardson
Broncos running back Clinton Portis is scheduled to make $380,000 this season.





HONOLULU - Amid swaying palm trees and cool ocean breezes, Broncos running back Clinton Portis acknowledged there is trouble in paradise.

Portis said unless he has a new contract before training camp, he could hold out.

"I'm hoping the Broncos do work something out to where it doesn't go that far," Portis said after Wednesday's Pro Bowl practice. "I don't want to be a distraction to the team. I don't want it to come off as if it's I think I'm bigger than the team, because I don't.

"But at the same time, come on, man. There are players on special teams making more money than me. How long am I going to stay content with that? The Broncos know the situation. It's however they want to do it. I've given them two good years for the low-low. Why can't I be one of the top-paid players in the league?"

The Broncos might argue it is because Portis has two years remaining on a four-year contract that paid him a $1.29 million signing bonus and is scheduled to pay him $380,000 this coming season and $455,000 the next season.

Those salaries are well below those of the league's top players, as well as some of his teammates, but Portis' name is autographed on the dotted line.

Denver is dealing with other major financial concerns. Nearly $5 million over the salary cap for the coming season, it is struggling to re-sign Pro Bowl middle linebacker Al Wilson, who said Wednesday he will test the free-agent market that begins March 3. With Denver also trying to re-sign unrestricted free-agent linebacker Ian Gold, defensive end Bertrand Berry and fullback Reuben Droughns, the Broncos are playing from behind - way behind.

Only in this game Portis will not bail them out. This time he is trying to hit pay dirt.

"My best interests are my best interests," said Portis, who will be playing Sunday in his first Pro Bowl. "I'm going to decide what's in my best interests on my own.

"If I don't feel like going to camp, if I don't feel like the situation is right for me, I won't be there. If I do, then I will. If I decide that things aren't going right and I don't feel like the Broncos' organization is being true to me, then that's a hard decision I'll have to make."

The stage is set for a showdown that could last into July's training camp and beyond. Portis' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, whom the running back hired this winter, declined comment.

Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist also declined comment Wednesday, saying his team does not address contract situations. But Portis' statements should not have been a surprise to the organization.

Within the past month, Portis has submitted a lucrative contract proposal to the Broncos, only to be rebuffed. The Broncos have floated counterproposals, but none has come close to meeting Portis' satisfaction.

Last season, despite missing three games because of sternum, ankle and knee injuries, Portis ran for a career-high 1,591 yards. His 5.5 yards per carry were the NFL's best. He closed out the season with six consecutive 100-yard games. Now he wants to be rewarded for it.

"I would love to have a new deal," Portis said. "I don't know any player who would tell you he's content with being in the Pro Bowl and being one of the lowest-paid players on his team. Nobody is going to be happy with that. Really, I'm not really excited, but what can I do?"

For starters, Portis can skip Denver's offseason conditioning program, something he did last season while choosing to work out in Miami. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan never has taken kindly to players skipping the team workout sessions. Portis said he is uncertain where he would conduct his offseason training.

Wherever he does, Portis will be questioned about what he and the Broncos are doing. Pro Bowl players already have begun to weigh in.

"This is what I would tell Clinton," said Chiefs Pro Bowl running back Priest Holmes, who was rewarded with a four-year contract extension that included a $10 million signing bonus and a $5 million annual average days before last season kicked off. "As long as he's producing and then he makes the decision that, 'Hey, I want to make my money, I want to go ahead and get my money now,' he has to stand firm with that and not waver."

It appears that is what Portis is willing to do.

"The ball is in the Broncos' court," Portis said. "You know who your top players are. If this is John Elway, would John Elway still be in the same situation? They had the situation with John Elway. The salary cap was just as high then. You've got Steve Atwater, Terrell Davis, the O-line he had. Come on. They had big players then, too, and they got paid.

"I hope this resolves itself positively. I love playing for the organization. I want to play for the organization. I'm one of the three players representing the Broncos in the Pro Bowl. But you make decisions.

"First it was, 'Can he do it?' Then it's, 'Is he a one-year wonder?' Now it's, 'Two years and we still want to see you.'

"How many times do I have to prove myself to somebody?"




Life as a Broncos' RB is short. If I was him, I would want to see some more money too. Should be interesting to how Denver handles this. Do they push the fact that they are covered by the contract.....or fold and pay up?
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Postby awwchrist » Thu Feb 05, 2004 2:29 pm

Well this is the other edge of the sword for the NFL. With contracts not being guarenteed, teams are going to run into those players who step out as real gamebreakers and are still under their rookie multi-season contracts.

Pay the man.
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Postby awwchrist » Thu Feb 05, 2004 2:30 pm

Oh and being 5 million over the cap ain't s***. Hardly worthy of the comment "a major financial concern" per the writer.
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Postby Dazedncnfz » Thu Feb 05, 2004 2:43 pm

if they dont pay him...someone else will
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Postby NittanyLions » Thu Feb 05, 2004 3:00 pm

theyll pay up...they know his value too well
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Postby terpfan » Thu Feb 05, 2004 3:17 pm

didnt he say this last year too?
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Postby Free Bagel » Thu Feb 05, 2004 3:30 pm

I dunno, I really don't like this mentallity.

This kinda thing completely diminishes the value of long-term contracts for teams. If you sign a four year contract, you honor it, even if you play extremely well. Sign an incentive based or short-term contract if you think you're gonna break out.

FFS, the kid's only 21, I think he can squeak by for the next 2 years on $450k with a $2 million already in the bank with a job most people would kill for until he signs a huge deal at 23 years old.

Holdouts are retarded, wtf is the point in even having a contract? If you sign a long term deal, then you play out that deal, he's got another 7+ years after his current contract runs out to make $5 mil a year.
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Postby Football Newbie » Thu Feb 05, 2004 3:54 pm

Free Bagel wrote:I dunno, I really don't like this mentallity.

This kinda thing completely diminishes the value of long-term contracts for teams. If you sign a four year contract, you honor it, even if you play extremely well. Sign an incentive based or short-term contract if you think you're gonna break out.

FFS, the kid's only 21, I think he can squeak by for the next 2 years on $450k with a $2 million already in the bank with a job most people would kill for until he signs a huge deal at 23 years old.

Holdouts are retarded, wtf is the point in even having a contract? If you sign a long term deal, then you play out that deal, he's got another 7+ years after his current contract runs out to make $5 mil a year.


dtto. didnt portis come out a year early or something, costing himself millions? honor your contract, thats why they are there.
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Postby awwchrist » Thu Feb 05, 2004 4:19 pm

normally i agree...but not in the case of football.

how can you ask a player to honor a contract when teams dont have to?
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Postby M_Zimm_ffc » Thu Feb 05, 2004 4:52 pm

It may not be the absolute best choice but if they have to I don't think it would kill them if they would trade him. They have a system that promotes RBs. Look at their history. Who was the last guy not to to do there? Gary, Anderson, TD, and Portis have all rushed for over 1000 yards there in the past few years. Quentin Griffin ran well last year during Portis' injury and I think could be relied on. They could get a lot for Portis in a trade, a very good CB or something. They will never do it but it is a though. They will pay up, he is an elite RB and deserves to be payed like one. As far as the argument about sticking with your contract, if a team releases a guy that is under contract they have to pay a part of his salary for the rest of his contract unless he is signed by another team. A player just can decide he wants more money and not play. If you sign a contract you should stick to it. IMO
Last edited by M_Zimm_ffc on Fri Feb 06, 2004 10:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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