Clinton Portis' wardrobe has included a pink fuzzy hat, a Bob the Builder outfit and what teammate Steve Beuerlein called pajamas. He's strutted around the sideline wearing a gaudy gold title belt, proclaiming himself the best running back in the NFL.
In his first practice as a Denver rookie, Portis jumped into the huddle when the coaches called for the starters -- even though he was standing next to Terrell Davis, Mike Anderson and Olandis Gary.
Confident? You bet. Self-assured? Certainly. A little cocky? Without a doubt. Thing is, he's got the game to back it up.
"You don't know of no great player without confidence," Portis said. "You think of the greatest people of all time. You look at Muhammad Ali, you look at Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, they all had confidence. All of them. You've got to have confidence to become that clutch guy when it's on the line."
Portis entered the league as a brash rookie with a chip on his shoulder for being the fourth running back taken in the last year's NFL draft. So far, he's been better than William Green, T.J. Duckett and DeShaun Foster combined.
Portis was voted the NFL's offensive rookie of the year after rushing for 1,508 yards and 15 touchdowns, even though he didn't become a starter until the fifth game. Foster didn't play because of a knee injury, and Green and Duckett combined for 1,394 yards and 10 touchdowns.
And Portis has been even better this season.
Despite missing what amounted to two games with a bruised sternum, he's 48 yards short of joining Eric Dickerson and Edgerrin James as the only running backs with 1,500 yards in each of their first two seasons. He also has 12 touchdowns, including a team-record five against Kansas City last week, and is averaging a staggering 5.8 yards per carry, best in the NFL.
As for Green, Duckett and Foster, they've combined for 1,369 yards and 10 touchdowns this year. Green, the first running back taken, is done for the year due to substance-abuse problems.
Somehow, Portis wasn't good enough to be drafted by his college coach, whose team he faces Sunday.
"Clinton's an awesome player," said Cleveland Browns coach Butch Davis, who took Green despite recruiting Portis the previous year at the University of Miami. "He's fast, he's athletic, he's explosive and he's doing a very good job for them."
But then it's no surprise the Broncos found a star running back after the first round of the draft.
That trend started with Davis in 1995. He went from a sixth-round pick to one of the most productive running backs ever. Davis ran for 6,413 yards his first four seasons, the third-highest total in league history, and is one of four players to eclipse 2,000 yards in a season.
When Davis tore a knee ligament four games into the 1999 season, fourth-round pick Gary took his place and went on to rush for 1,159 yards. Gary was injured the next season, but the Broncos just plugged in Anderson. Another sixth-rounder, he ran for 1,487 yards and was selected offensive rookie of the year.
But with the speed to turn nearly every run into a touchdown and an understanding of opposing defenses that seems to improve every week, Portis could be the best of the bunch.
Keep up this pace and throw in a Super Bowl or two, and there won't be any doubt.
"Obviously, if you look at their numbers, Clinton is probably ahead of where TD was at this point," said Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe, who played five seasons with Davis. "Basically, it's going to come down to whether Clinton can get this team to the Super Bowl and win it. That's how you measure numbers, because when numbers are close, you look at the guy that got his team into the championship game, then won it."
As for the confidence, Portis comes by that naturally. Surrounded by older siblings and cousins as a kid in Laurel, Mississippi, he had to develop an attitude or face getting lost in the shuffle.