The recently retired Clinton Portis was no stranger to brutal collisions during his nine-year NFL career.
Portis who suffered, among other injuries, a concussion that cost him most of his 2009 season, told NFL Network’s “NFL AM” on Friday morning that the current rules might be causing injuries.
“It’s a violent game, it’s a physical game,” he said. “There is no way to design and say ‘well you hit like this’ or ‘you can tackle like that.’ If you notice, trying to be safe, I think, is more injurious compared to when you just knew if you run or are going across this middle you going to get blasted. I don’t think people even protect themselves as much these days because there are so many rules and so many regulation on how you can get hit. So it kinds of takes away from the game of football because you are so worried about the injuries.”
For Portis, big hits and injuries were part of the game.
“When you strap on that helmet you just know the risks you are taking,” he said. “I think people are harping on the concussion, like, go out and play the game the right way and just hope and pray that God blessed you to get up every play.”
Portis rushed for 9,923 yards, 77 short of his 10,000-yard goal , but played in 16 games only three seasons of the seven he spent with the Washington Redskins, after the being traded from the Denver Broncos in 2004. He said having his current health was one reason he walked away from the game when he did.
“I think when you sign up to play this game, you know that injuries could possibly happen,” Portis said. “Fortunately for me, I was able to recover and walk away from all of them.
“Who knows what the long term effect will be? But for myself, being healthy was a big part of walking away now.”