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Former Washington Football Team running back Clinton Portis said on Monday that he retired early because the team removed Sean Taylor’s locker from the locker room.
The two-time Pro Bowler hung his cleats up at the age of 30 in 2010, three years after Taylor was shot and killed during a burglary at his home. Taylor at the time was becoming one of the best defensive players in the NFL and is revered to this day for his play and impact at the safety position. Portis told Shannon Sharpe on his podcast, “Club Shay Shay” that his motivation to play was gone once the team removed Taylor’s locker.
“Once they moved Sean T.’s locker out of the locker room, my love for the game disappeared,” Portis said. “Everybody looked [at me] like, ‘Oh, you left the game so early.’ Nah, I sat in a locker room where for a guy that we looked at as a god and I saw them remove his locker and put someone else there to create space. There was plenty of space in the locker room. You could’ve built a new locker. You didn’t have to remove Sean Taylor’s locker.”
Taylor’s locker was next to Portis’ and the two shared a tight bond as teammates as a result. While the locker was moved to FedExField for public viewing, it contributed to one of the games best running backs calling it a career. Portis had more in the tank at the time of his retirement and still had time to push towards a Hall of Fame career.
It did not happen and now it’s another indictment on owner Dan Snyder. Snyder bought the team in 1999 and has had nothing but controversy follow ever since. The biggest being Washington Post article last season that exposed the toxic and inappropriate culture behind the scenes of the team.
Snyder is regarded as one of the worst owners in professional sports, so Portis’ claim is not surprising. Portis did admit that it’s good for everyone else to see Taylor’s locker, but said that in 2010 he was not ready for it.
“At that time, I was too sensitive,” Portis said. “I was too sensitive at that moment and it happened too early. Now, I think it’s a great idea that everyone gets to see it and it’s in the stadium and every fan and anybody who wants to acknowledge Sean, to see Sean, gets an opportunity to walk past that locker or take a picture. But at that time, I could never swallow that pill. When I see a guy that did everything, that laid it on the line and he became replaceable that quick, it changed my outlook.”