Ever since the death of Sean Taylor, Clinton Portis has avoided the locker room at Redskins Park.
His locker is right next to Taylor’s, and it’s a constant reminder that he’ll never see his close friend again.
The Redskins have put a glass encasing around the locker
"Just looking up and seeing the picture of Sean, seeing that locker cased up, seeing the seat right there--it’s like an emptiness," Portis said. "It’s a shock that you can’t look up and see him. You won’t look up and see him again."
On Thursday, Portis and
Portis, Moss and Taylor all grew up in Miami around the same time and were teammates at the University of Miami. They became close friends.
In April 2004, shortly after the Redskins acquired Portis in a trade with Denver, Portis encouraged head coach Joe Gibbs to draft Taylor.
Portis was limited in practice as he rested a sore back, but this was no time to discuss his playing status for Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills.
"I think [Thursday] went better than [Wednesday]," Portis said. "A lot of guys were having conversations about Sean on the sidelines. As far as the tempo, you could see more guys smiling. You see more guys trying to have fun.
"Wednesday, it was just hard. It was hard for anybody to focus, concentrate, do anything. Thursday, we were just running around, having a lot of conversations like, ’I miss Sean doing this, I miss Sean doing that.’"
Earlier this week, Portis mentioned in a radio interview that he may want to switch his jersey number to 21 to honor Taylor for the rest of the season.
He backed off that remark on Thursday.
"Twenty-one was Sean’s number and for me to put it on, I can’t go out and emulate Sean’s style," Portis said. "I can’t go out and be Sean Taylor. There is no need to drag it on or carry along, or even tease the fans or the people that admire him in putting that jersey on.
"All I can do is go out and give everything I have. That’s what Sean did every day, time after time, always. He was the best player I have ever seen. For me to go out and put that jersey on, I can’t live up to the expectations and I can’t be Sean Taylor, so I won’t even try."
Taylor’s death "brought a whole lot of things into perspective," Portis said.
Some teammates commented to Portis that football didn’t seem quite so important anymore in the wake of Taylor’s passing.
Portis took a different approach.
In following the news coverage, Portis said: "You see how much football is important because you see all the people that respect Sean. You see all the people who Sean has affected.
"It’s touching around the world. It’s the biggest news. It’s on every channel. Everybody is talking about it.
"A lot of days, we come out here and we’re like, ’Man, I don’t feel like practicing. I don’t feel like doing this.’ In doing this, you realize that we are cheering up a lot of households.
"There are a lot of people that get appreciation out of life by watching us, so we have to go out there and give everything we have."
Moss recounted the last time he saw Taylor--on Thanksgiving morning.
"The last week was just a special week because there was a different kind of glow about him," Moss said. "Just before the team meeting on Thanksgiving Day, I remember Sean sitting right next to me.
"We gave our little [hand] pound to each other every morning and I remember Brandon Lloyd, he wasn’t there on Thanksgiving but I remember he used to always ask me, ’Is that a UM thing?’ I would just be like, ’No it’s just a thing Sean does with everything. He likes to give you five just to say hello to you.’
"I remember that morning he just went out of his way and told everybody Happy Thanksgiving. I sat back and listened to him talk to every coach and then he started talking about his daughter.
"For now, for me to look back at that day, there was something being told then and you never really know at that moment, but it was just like he went out so happy."
Moss said the best way to honor Taylor would be to play hard every game.
"The best way I know how to handle the situation is the way Sean would have handled it," Moss said. "Sean would have gone out there and he would have mourned for the moment we had to mourn, but he would have gone out there, laced them up and played like no one else.
"He went out there and gave it his all every game, so that is probably the best way for us to honor him."