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News & Notes: Portis, Zorn Discuss Their Relationship


One of the hot topics on the first day of Redskins training camp was the relationship between head coach Jim Zorn and running back Clinton Portis.

Portis, of course, made headlines last December when he went on ESPN 980 and criticized Zorn. At the time, Portis was upset that he was not featured more in a game against the Baltimore Ravens.

The issue was put to rest by both sides after a meeting, but questions lingered into the offseason. In June, Portis refuted a rumor that there was a practice incident between him and Zorn during OTAs.

On Thursday, Portis was asked if the relationship between the two of them had improved.

Portis replied: "I think so. I think our communication is a lot better. I think he understands me."

Then, without prompting, Portis discussed the perception that he does not like to work hard in training camp or play in preseason games.

"Me, I'm going to give you everything I've got on Sundays," he said. "I think people get caught up in whether I'm working hard in preseason. Every day is going to be a go-hard day for me.

"Some days are learning days, some days are resting days. I'm not on my own schedule, but that's the way my body works. I'm going to go out on Sundays and give you above and beyond what you ask me to give you. I'm going to give you everything I've got. That's the only way I know how to play.

"I can't practice the same way I play. My 75 percent is not the same 75 percent of somebody else's. If it's full speed, I go full speed. If it's learning, I learn a different way than others."

Does Portis regret saying what he said on ESPN 980?

He replied: "I can't say I regret it. I think everything is a learning experience...What I said then I felt was the truth and I got it off my chest."

In his post-practice media session, Zorn seemed a little irked that the first question was about his relationship with Portis.

"Here's the deal," he said. "I think that our relationship has grown. He didn't know me when I first got here, and I didn't know him. I think based on what he did in the OTAs, mini-camp--he worked very hard. I was very impressed with what he did.

"He came out here and worked [on Thursday]. So I think we have a very good relationship but it's because we have communicated. Even all of the [rumors] that we had an incident--that's just all about trying to communicate and trying to be up front with each other, knowing how each other feel, stuff like that.

"I'm trying to anticipate those issues before they even rise up. So it's good."


New defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth was not satisfied with his morning practice work on Thursday, calling his performance "rough."

"I just have to get better," he said. "I have another shot in the afternoon to be all right."

Haynesworth did not get that opportunity. Coaches held him out of the afternoon practice just to keep him rested and refreshed.

Was Redskins training camp far different than what he was used to in Tennessee?

"No, it didn't feel different," he replied. "It was just getting used to the way our offense plays and the way our offense blocks."

Comparing Redskins' training camp to the Titans' camp in Nashville, Haynesworth commented that fans at Redskins Park were positioned a lot closer to the fields and there was a larger media presence.

"I think we had about three TV cameras in Nashville showing up for practice," he said.


Chris Samuels walked off the practice fields on Thursday weighing a svelte 305 pounds, he said. (The team officially lists him at 314 pounds.)

Last year, he weighed about 330 pounds.

Samuels spent the last month in the heat of Arizona working with a trainer to get in shape.

"I feel better conditioned," he said on Thursday.

What brought on the weight loss?

"I feel like I needed a rebirth of my career," Samuels replied. "Last year, I went on injured reserve [with a triceps injury] and I was disappointed in that. I just rededicated myself to the offseason program, worked a little bit harder, and I got better results.

"Hopefully this has extended my career at least another 5-6 years."


Malcolm Kelly has lost about six pounds pounds from his 6-4 frame this offseason.

He deemed it necessary so that the extra weight would not put any strain on his oft-injured left knee.

"Once I took that weight off, I was moving a lot easier and a lot better," Kelly said. "I wasn't putting as much pressure on my leg."

Asked about his expectations for his second NFL season, Kelly replied: "I came out here with the same attitude I had last year--to get into the starting rotation. That has to be your attitude.

"But this year I have done more things to help my body, from dieting to the strengthening program You can go out there and play, but if you don't get your body right, it's no good."


In a post-practice media session, Jason Campbell spoke to reporters about assuming more of a leadership role than he has in the past.

"[Leadership] came out at times during the season last year, but more so now," Campbell said. "Last year I was kind of sure about what I was supposed to be doing, but I wasn't as sure.

"We were all learning and feeling our way around the whole year.

"Now, if you make a bad throw, you still feel like you can take that leadership position. Not every is going to be perfect.

"You can come back the next play and hit them with a bang and go deep."

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