WASHINGTON — With the money invested (five years, $75 million) in free agent cornerback Josh Norman this offseason, the Washington Redskins clearly expect a leader in actions and words.
The All-Pro defender wanted to make the best first impression possible. So before any of his new teammates could make any assumptions about entitlement, Norman knocked himself down peg.
“I felt, not so much tension, but a sense of curiosity,” Norman recalled to USA TODAY’s Jarrett Bell. “The mysterious enigma of this person. ‘Who is he? What is he going to come in with? Is he going to be arrogant? Is it just going to be about him? What kind of guy is he?’ So I just wanted to break the ice right then and there.
“So I just wanted to break the ice right then and there.”
He wanted his new teammates–who might have seen his antics against Odell Beckham Jr., his performance in the Super Bowl, or the countless interviews over the last year–and gotten the wrong impression, to understand the man behind the player.
It was also a chance to show the substance and accountability behind the flash.
“I was all in there expressing myself, and letting them know, ‘Look, I’m here to win and help you guys out. If I have an ego, please check me. If I come at you wrong, please check me,” he explained. “But if you’re not doing something right, I’m going to say something, because I know. I’ve been to the mountaintop. But at the same time, brother, I’m here to work, I’m here to help.”
“‘I’ve been to the mountaintop. But at the same time, brother, I’m here to work, I’m here to help.'”
The Redskins can use the leadership, in a cornerback corps that got dangerously thin last season. Pairing Norman with up-and-comer Bashaud Breeland could give the Redskins one of the most talented duos in the NFL.
Promising that added layer of personal accountability has be music to everyone’s ears.
“I’m an enigma to people. I came out of nowhere. I sucked up the top guys. ‘How did he do this?’ Because of this work.”