Clinton Portis was one of the best Redskins to play for the franchise. According to him and fellow teammate Santana Moss, the team used to take shots of Hennessy prior to every game. This tradition was cut short by head coach Jim Zorn, who had replaced Joe Gibbs at the time.
Portis and his teammates said that Zorn lost the locker room after getting rid of the tradition. It was started by him, Moss, and the late Sean Taylor. Per Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post, Portis said that this tradition also helped him and his teammates cope with Taylor’s death and it being taken away was taken very personal by the locker room.
“Zorn ruined that recovery trail,” Portis said in regards to the passing of Taylor. “I think it’s known now — even if it’s not, I don’t give a damn; I’m grown — myself, Santana and Sean, prior to the game, we would take a little shot of Henny. We were drinking Hennessy. Me, Santana and Sean, we did this for a year-and-a-half before anyone knew. It was never two, three- four shots. From that point, we did it every game. All of a sudden Coach Zorn comes in, and says ‘Oh, yeah, guys are taking sips for Sean.’ What?”
Portis also believed that stopping this tradition contributed to Zorn’s time in Washington being cut short.
“It was something that we just did. We didn’t want it to be magnified. We didn’t want it to be about us, because we did and went out and played the game of football the way we know how to play. He just kind of lost a lot of us, you know. He said that and that kind of lost us together.”
Flip the page to watch Portis discuss this ritual along with the issues of it being taken away.