Clinton Portis was a fun guy to be around during his days as a star NFL running back. He had several luxury homes and was always quick to pick up the tab for an expensive meal. And those hilarious costumes he wore and crazy personae he assumed during postgame interviews were classic.
But just a year or so after his 2012 retirement, that same guy found himself in his parked car with a loaded gun for several late nights and early mornings in a row, waiting to commit murder.
“It wasn’t no ’beat up,’” Portis, 35, said of his malevolent intentions in a Sports Illustrated feature published Wednesday. “It was ‘kill.’”
Portis lived a lavish lifestyle during his NFL days, but the former Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins player also was making wise investments with some of his money. Or so he thought.
Instead, he had trusted his money to people he shouldn’t have and ended up losing almost all of it. Two of his homes were sold at a loss and a condo was liquidated. When he filed for bankruptcy protection in 2015, Portis had only $150 in his bank account but owed more than $1 million in child support, gambling debts and delinquent taxes.
The people who scammed Portis were no longer allowed to work in the financial industry, but Portis didn’t think that was punishment enough.
“No jail time, no nothing,” Portis said. “Living happily ever after.”
So in 2013, he decided to take matters into his own hands. A close friend eventually talked some sense into him, but if he had found who he was looking for before that, Portis told Sports Illustrated, “We’d probably be doing this interview from prison.”
Portis now lives in a two-bedroom apartment in Northern Virginia and supports himself through broadcasting work and appearances. He is eligible to receive benefits from the NFL’s concussion settlement but doesn’t want to undergo the medical testing involved.
“I’m scared,” said Portis, who says he suffered more than 10 concussions during his playing days and now deals with occasional lapses in memory. “I’m really scared of the results.”
Portis has made three trips to Haiti in recent years to help provide food, water and clothing for disaster victims. His foundation provides an annual holiday feast in a poor Washington, D.C., neighborhood. And he makes regular appearances at city schools to read and speak to the children.
“I spent more time in the public eye than I did getting to know who I was,” Portis said. “I’m just now learning me.”