ASHBURN — The jersey was familiar even if the setting was not over the weekend at Redskins Park.
Among dozens of draft picks, college free agents and tryouts invited to participate at rookie minicamp, the maroon No. 24 with “Norman” on the back stood out.
It wasn’t Washington star cornerback Josh Norman, but it was his practice jersey there on the field. Older brother, Marrio Norman, wore it proudly as he tried to catch the eye of coaches and evaluators. At age 30, Norman’s journeyman career isn’t likely to spark into an NFL roster spot. But all he wanted was a chance.
“It’s been challenging,” Norman said. “I’ve had a lot of fun playing in the Arena League and the [Canadian Football League] and I had a stint with the [Baltimore] Ravens. It’s been an uphill battle, but I wouldn’t trade it for nothing. I’ve met a lot of good people, traveled all around the world. I’ve definitely enjoyed it.”
Marrio Norman went undrafted after he graduated from Coastal Carolina – the same school as his more famous younger brother – in 2009. He spent four years in the Arena League in west Texas (Odessa) and suburban Atlanta, Orlando and Cleveland. He spent an offseason with the Baltimore Ravens in 2014 and another year in the CFL with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
“I’ll tell you what, he’s a good player,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “He’s played in a couple different leagues and runs around out there good. Josh has been touting him pretty hard for the last year and a half, so we wanted to give him a shot and give him a look.”
Marrio Norman wasn’t signed on Monday so it doesn’t appear Washington will bring him in for offseason workouts or training camp. The Redskins have added two similar tryout players to the roster – tight end Manasseh Garner (Pittsburgh) and cornerback Tevin Homer (Florida Atlantic).
But all Marrio Norman wanted was another chance. His college career ended in 2008 thanks to a severe ankle injury. Marrio was the third-oldest of the Norman brothers – five in all – who grew up in Greenwood, S.C. and he held the Coastal Carolina record for interceptions (11) until Josh broke it.
“I am the older brother so I always feel like I set the bar no matter where I was,” Marrio Norman said. “Always made a lot of plays, lot of interceptions. Always gave Josh something to actually reach and attain and just my work ethic alone he tried to mimic.”
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