Former Redskins running back Clinton Portis said former head coach Jim Zorn lost the locker room because of his religious beliefs.

By SI Wire
October 20, 2015

Former Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis said Monday on ESPN 980 that former head coach Jim Zorn lost respect from his players because of his religious beliefs.

Portis, who played under Zorn from 2008 to 2009, said the divide between Christians and non-Christians on the team was palpable.

“Coach Zorn lost the locker room because he split the locker room between Christians and ballplayers,” Portis said. “So if you didn’t believe in what he believed in, if you weren’t Antwaan Randle El — I’m saying it, I’m going to talk, I’m on the radio — if you weren’t Antwaan Randle El, if you weren’t the guys who sat and prayed with him and did everything the way they thought your life should be, you kind of got, ‘Well, you’re not doing right’ speeches directed toward you.”

Former Redskins tight end Chris Cooley backed Portis’s claims about Zorn.

“Coach Zorn might have lost the locker room Week 13 of season one,” Cooley said. “He didn’t do it with intent though. Jim Zorn didn’t come in with intent to say ‘I want Christians.’ But he sold his pitch. His sales pitch was, ‘Believe in and have faith in my program.’”

In the interview, Portis also called Zorn “phony” in the way he conducted himself.

“If I don’t get in no trouble, don’t assume the way that I live my life. Don’t preach to me about what’s right,” Portis said. “Because you’re not right, you’re phony. You’re sitting here in my face telling me one thing, and then you go behind my back and say something else.”

Zorn was 12–20 in two seasons with the Redskins and failed to make the playoffs both years. He was fired by the team following the final game of the 2009 season.

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