NFL News of September 1, 2003

As eye popping as his rookie season was – and hoopster LeBron James could only hope his is so productive – Broncos running back Clinton Portis‘ offseason might have been even more startling.

At an offseason autograph signing show, Bo Jackson, one of the most talented running backs to play the game, told Portis: “I enjoyed watching you play. You’re an exciting guy.”

At another autograph signing show, Jim Brown, maybe the most talented player to play the game, told Portis: “You’re going to be a great back.”

Last week, Eric Dickerson, one of four running backs in NFL history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season, dialed up Portis to predict the Broncos back would sidestep the sophomore jinx like some helpless defender.

More kind words came from Ricky Williams, Priest Holmes and Edgerrin James, each praising Portis for developing into the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year and one of the most dangerous backs in the game.

It was as if the fraternity of great backs was welcoming Portis like the top pledge he is.

—Adam Schefter, The Denver Post “Sold by the yards NFL greats see stardom in Broncos’ Portis”

Portis spent two years with the Broncos before being traded to the Redskins for Champ Bailey. He played for the Redskins for the next 7 seasons, retiring after being released after the 2010 season. His 9,923 career rushing yards are 28th all-time.

Today is his 32nd birthday.

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