Why Clinton Portis doesn't want Landon Collins wearing No. 21

Chris Lingebach
March 20, 2019 - 4:42 pm

Fans have hotly debated whether Landon Collins should be allowed to wear Sean Taylor's No. 21, a number no Redskins player has worn since his death.

For Clinton Portis, Taylor's closest confidant on the Redskins, perhaps, before his Nov. 2007 death, that conversation is a nonstarter.

Portis, in an appearance with 106.7 The Fan's Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier, was asked if he thinks Collins, who grew up idolizing Taylor, should be allowed to wear 21.

"I don't. I honestly don't," Portis said. "That's the one thing the fans have to hold onto, a lot of people, a lot of their memories, in seeing that 21. And there's so many people that idolize Sean that want that opportunity, so many guys that came through."

"For Landon, I think Landon will be a great player – I hope he's gonna be a great player – here in D.C. for our Redskins," he said. "But I don't think he's gonna be Sean Taylor.

"I don't think all of a sudden, because you get a great talent, it's like, 'Okay, you can be the next Sean.' There is no next Sean. You won't ever have another Sean. No matter how good Landon turns out to be or how he goes on to play, he's not gonna be Sean. There is no need, in my opinion, there is no need to even see 21 on the field again. That's a memory and a loss that we all cherish from '07."

"And all of a sudden you get a high-price free agent," Portis continued. "We don't know what Landon Collins is gonna be. We don't know what he's gonna contribute to this organization. And that's one of the issues that we've had even since I came here. As soon as you get a big-name free agent, it's like, 'Let's give him the keys.' Like, it's everything on him.

"For myself, you know, when I came, you had LaVar Arrington. And then all of a sudden I come, and Shawn Springs and you had all of these guys come in. And you gotta understand, this is a team; you don't just turn over the keys. You've got to work a rapport and build a relationship and make sure. You look at Josh Norman coming in, he was just given the keys. Hey, you know what? You're the Redskins. And he hadn't made a play."

"You look at a lot of the guys that come in through free agency," he continued. "Alex Smith comes in. Hey, you know what? You're the man. Everyone loves you. And he goes down.

"You gotta come in and establish your own rapport with the fans, and I don't think playing in 21 is a good idea. I hope Landon, if he wants to cherish Sean, go put 36 on. You can do it any numerous of ways – do it with your play, do it with your effort on the field – but wearing 21 I think is off limits."

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Portis feels it wouldn't even be fair to Collins to wear Taylor's number, because of the sheer impossibility of living up to that standard.

"Sean T was one of the most special players. I don't care who it is, who the discussion is about, Sean T was one of the most special players that was taken away from us before his time," he said. "That alone would be enshrinement for me. And I was vocal on moving his locker to the stadium from the park.

"Just for me, some stuff, there's no need to tamper with, there's no need to move or initiate. You can't find someone else to replace him. You're never gonna try to replace him. Why even attempt? Let Landon Collins go out and be Landon Collins. Allow Landon Collins to go play football, because the moment he makes a mistake, or he gets beat or he's not in position, then all of a sudden you're getting unwarranted boos when you make a mistake in football. You're asking him to go out and play the perfect game every week, all the time, and I just think it's gonna interfere with the fanbase."

"And, for me, it's gonna interfere with the legacy," he added. "I hope Landon takes the time – get 22, get 20 – you know, whatever it is, however close you want to be to Sean. Wear 36. Just go out and do it with your play."

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