Training camp for Redskins cornerback Josh Norman began with a friendly jab from his head coach Jay Gruden: "I'm not worried about a bull hitting him, he avoids contact."
Norman had a very active off-season as he flew with the Blue Angels and participated in multiple charity endeavors, but his running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain garnered the most attention.
“Yeah that is true – I’m sure he wasn’t’ concerned because I do avoid contact," Norman said. "Just like I avoided OTA’s. It’s a contact sport, so I didn’t get hurt.”
It’s worth mentioning that players aren't required to attend off-season OTA’s, and Norman was at mandatory camp where he picked off rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr.; the play was ruled out of bounds but Norman ran it back for a "100-yard touchdown." The player/coach relationship, rooted in trash talking, continued to shine as Gruden then asked a referee to throw a flag on Norman so he could mess with him.
Fast forward to day four of camp and Norman is showing that an eventful off-season did not interfere with his on-field production. The $75 million man had a pair of interceptions on day one and attributed it to him just him helping the team.
“If I see ball I get ball, really," Norman said. "I just come out here and do my job and have fun with the game. I've done so much up to now, so I just come back and live in the moment.”
A big part of enjoying the moments for Norman is embracing the fans as he's always one of the last players to leave the field, signing every autograph he possibly can; He attributes that to camp being "quiet."
“Guys are actually working, you can see it. It doesn’t have to be overbearing, it doesn’t have to be a ra-ra thing," Norman said. "It’s just good work, solid execution, and we have that."
"This has been a great training camp so far. It’s been off to a good start, we don’t have any injuries, just a couple hamstrings here and there but we’ve been blessed so far.”
Norman went through the 2017 season without an interception, but snagged three last year. He now enters year four of his five-year contract and says any personal goals don’t matter if the team doesn’t make the playoffs.
Norman also believes that the addition of pro-bowl safety Landon Collins, and new defensive backs coach, Ray Horton, is huge for them.
“He’s [Horton] played the game, and has so many teams under his belt where he’s coached," Norman said. "He's seen it all, so when you get a guy like that you want to soak things up like a sponge."
"He’s not overbearing, he’s not pressing, he’s just welcoming and inviting to you being all you can be, and when you got that you want to run through a brick wall for the guy.”
The Redskins have not made the post season while Norman has been in D.C., but it’s a new year and Norman says from offense to defense all seem to understand.
“We are teammates and we have one common goal and that’s to win it all.”
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