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Portis: 'I'm Working My Way Back'

Running back Clinton Portis increased his work during Thursday's practice, but still sat out most drills as he continues his return from an injured shoulder. He spoke to and assembled media after practice:

Q: What did you do at practice on Thursday?

A: "I take it one day at a time. I would love to be out on the field, but we have to look at the long run. We have to look at the overall season--instead of trying to get back early to play in this game and then miss some of the key games we have coming up behind it. Basically, I'm just trying to get to 100 percent and get on the field when I'm able to."

Q: Coach Gibbs called it your decision as to whether or not you'll play...

A: "I would love to go. At the same time, like coach told me, if I'm not feeling 100 percent, then I shouldn't go out and chance it. I need to be there for the team and they need me for the long run. When I can come back and play and play the type of football that I love to play, I'll get on the field."

Q: How do you feel right now?

A: "I feel about 75 percent, but when you put on pads and have the adrenaline going, it's going to happen. I've played with aches and bumps and bruises before and there's no real pain anymore. We just don't want to take the chance of it getting hit and coming back out."

Q: When do you think you'll be ready to go?

A: "I was thinking about slapping five with Sean Taylor once we get outside and we'll see how it goes."

Q: How frustrating is it to be missing time before the season has even begun?

A: "It's real frustrating because the excitement of having the first Monday night game, seeing your teammates, with everyone against us because everyone thinks 0-4 in the preseason was the end of the world. I want to get back on the field and prove to people that it was just preseason and it doesn't matter. Our goal is to go to the playoffs and hopefully the Super Bowl. If we do that, then forget the preseason."

Q: When do you think a decision will be made as to whether you'll play?

A: "I don't know. I would like to take that shot, but at the same time I have to do what's best for the team. Ladell (Betts), T.J. (Duckett) and Rock (Cartwright) have been working hard enough to get us to this point. For me to just jump in and try and take over after the work they've done--I have to get back in football shape. There's a difference between football shape and the conditioning that I've been doing so once I get in football shape and get myself healed I'll be back on the field."

Q: How long do you think it will take to get back into football shape?

A: "It takes me running around. I think I have the base for it, so hopefully a couple hard practices and I'll be back there. It's not like coming in from the offseason. I have been doing something so hopefully a couple hard practices with the pads on--as hot as it is out here, it shouldn't take long."

Q: What specifically did you do in practice?

A: "I pretty much ran some routes, came in and out of my cuts, made sure I can catch and reach out for the ball. The basic stuff that wouldn't get me into areas I was limited in or give me any setbacks."

Q: Do you think you'll come back in a limited role?

A: "I don't want to come back halfway. I don't know how to play a small role. I'm going to play my role and my style of football. I can't go out and be timid or worry about getting hurt and mess up on the field. Then when I step on the field, I'm a liability. They're going to come at me and I'm going to go after them. If there's any chance that something would go wrong like that, then I don't want to be out there. When I feel like I can help this team and I can protect Mark (Brunell) in picking up the blitz and I can take the pounding that's going to be asked of me to take, I'll be out there."

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