WASHINGTON — Josh Norman defended his right to take a side job as an NFL contributor to Fox, we learned last week from an online teaser to an interview he conducted with ESPN. Over the weekend, ESPN aired the full sitdown, which was filmed over a meal at Richmond establishment Mama J’s Kitchen.
Norman and fellow Redskins defensive back DeAngelo Hall — wearing a Flying Squirrels cap in his own ode to the host city for Redskins training camp — spoke with Dianna Russini. The five-plus minutes posted online included several revealing details about Washington’s aggressive courting of Norman in April, which led to an agreement that same day.
“Were [the Redskins] the only team you met with,” asked Russini.
“Yeah. It’s crazy,” Norman said. “I was on the phone with another team, but that was the only team I officially had met with.”
According to Emily Kaplan of TheMMQB.com in an online piece published shortly after Norman’s signing, at least one of those teams included the Saints.
The Saints were putting on a press, too—Norman says New Orleans coach Sean Payton called several times. “At one point,” says [Redskins GM Scot] McCloughan, “I was ready to call Sean and say, quit calling, he’s in my building!”
Norman had every intention to visit New Orleans next. “I would have loved playing for Coach Payton, and, oh, I would have loved the opportunity to play Carolina twice [a year],” he says. “But that shouldn’t be the sole reason for me going there.”
“They held me hostage,” Norman went on to say of Redskins brass. “I mean geesh, what can I say? Their pitch was just out of this world. They already won their division last year. They went to the playoffs. That’s big for me.
“Coming into a young group to where you can have that hand where you’ve been at a place where you went all the way and you can come back in and you can show young guys how to do things. That’s the biggest thing for me is try to help.”
Asked if any other team’s offer trumped the five-year, $75 million he ultimately accepted from the Redskins — to make him the highest paid corner in the league — Norman said, “Yeah.”
“And you still chose the Redskins?” Russini said, inquiring for an explanation.
“I did. For me, when you get to a certain number, man, enough is enough,” Norman said. “Do I want to be known as a guy that just is caring about all the money, or do I want to have some hardware with that? And, coming here, I can see hardware.”
Hall lent Norman a hand in addressing the constant barrage of media attention devoted to Norman and his on-field feud last season with Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. Beckham was suspended a game after losing his cool in a December game against Carolina, Norman’s team at the time, during which Beckham drew four total penalties, including three personal fouls, for his reckless behavior.
It’s a topic Norman has had to address repeatedly since Beckham claimed responsibility for Norman’s celebrity in an interview with GQ Magazine last month.
“He ain’t got anything negative to say,” Hall said after Norman shirked the issue, dismissing it as a media-driven narrative. “He not going to talk about it. I’ll talk about it. Look. When we get on the field, it’s going to be us versus them, not them two.”
“Look. I respect everybody on the field,” Hall added. “But it was a dirty shot. It was a cheap shot. It is what it is. So for [Beckham] to try to take it there, you know, was uncalled for in my opinion. And the next chapter will be written when they play the next time, but I don’t think what happened in that game is going to happen in the next one.”
“What is your perspective on this now looking forward knowing you’ve got this guy twice a season,” Russini asked Norman.
“Don’t really have one,” Norman said, looking down at his food. “This chicken’s pretty good, though.”