Clinton Portis' recent ambassador trip to Haiti was put into further perspective last Saturday morning, when he and several NFL players learned that former Saints defensive end Will Smith had been shot and killed in New Orleans.
Just a few days before, Portis was having a conversation with Smith at the United Nations, which hosted the Sport 4 Development Summit recognizing International Day for Sport for Development and Peace. Smith was getting his Master's degree with Portis and ex-Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss, and so the news, coming so quickly after a momentous event, tarnished what was otherwise an empowering visit to Haiti.
"I talk to him on Wednesday and all of a sudden Saturday he's gone," Portis said on "Redskins Nation." "I think it kind of changed the trip, really put it into perspective for me, for us. When we got the news everybody was kind of sitting out. We just left Cité Soleil, which is one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in the world. And all of a sudden we're sitting here and having dinner and drinks and [by] the body of water, and all of a sudden we get the news.
"I've experienced it and you send out your condolences, to the family, to the teammates, because it's tough," he said. "Anytime you lose a good guy, someone who is doing good, is bettering themselves, we went through it with Sean Taylor and now the Saints organization is going through it with Will Smith."
For consecutive years Portis traveled with JBF Worldwide with the 2016 Global Ambassadors Delegation to Haiti to continue its mission to "empower from within." Along with other NFL players Jack Brewer, Charles Way, Tommie Harris, EJ Manuel, Sergio Brown, Sidney Rice and Moss, the group participated in a full itinerary of philanthropic endeavors, which included a softball match with NFL greats.
The trip's main goal is to help fund a nationwide cervical cancer program estimated to save more than 3,000 lives each year, support 500 orphans through a holiday giving program and complete the donation and construction of the nation's first baseball field.
"It was great, man, it was a great experience," Portis said. "I think it's a great thing that a bunch of guys do… When we all sit and think about our kids and our lives and all of a sudden you see people that are born into something that don't know anything else, it's kind of re-fueling, it's something the world needs to see. It's a good cause."