Will Josh Norman Regret The Comments He Made During An ESPN The Magazine Cover Story?
Josh Norman was, without a doubt, one of the best cornerbacks in the entire NFL last season. The best? Eh, that’s up for debate. In order to take the crown from the Darrelle Revises and Patrick Petersons of the league, Norman will need to do more than put up one stellar season. But he played well enough to earn himself a five-year, $75 million contract with the Washington Redskins in the offseason, and he played well enough for people to, at the very least, put his name into the “best cornerback” discussion. But he’s going to have to get back out onto the field on Sundays this fall and prove himself once again in order to get any real consideration.
Norman may have just made things a lot harder on himself, though, by agreeing to do a cover story with ESPN The Magazine. In the story, Norman sounded off on a number of topics and, in some cases, players and didn’t hold back at all. He said that Odell Beckham Jr. “lost so much respect from people” around the league for fighting with him during a Carolina Panthers/New York Giants game last season. He criticized Demaryius Thomas’ performance in Super Bowl 50 and prompted Thomas to fire back an angry tweet at him. And somewhat stunningly—though not that stunningly if you’ve followed Norman’s trash talk over the last year—Norman referred to himself as the “best cornerback on Earth” at one point. Yeah, as we said, he didn’t hold back.
The problem with all of this, even if Norman doesn’t necessarily see it that way, is that he’s going to have to take the field and back up everything he told ESPN The Magazine. And that’s not going to be easy. While the Redskins did make the NFL Playoffs last season, they don’t have the same type of tenacious defense the Panthers did when Norman played for them. They also don’t command the type of respect that Carolina did last season. So Norman is going to get left on an island at times this season, and just like Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman a couple years ago, he’s going to have a huge target on his back. Every time a wide receiver makes a catch on him, he’s going to hear about it from, well, everyone—and he’s going to have to deal with getting his words thrown back in his face.
Norman has made a name for himself by being outspoken, and we wouldn’t expect him to stop speaking his mind anytime soon. But he better be prepared for what’s going to happen to him during the upcoming season. He just talked the talk, and now it’s time to walk the walk.