In a recent Bleacher Report article, Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman attempted to lure offsides Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl receiver Dez Bryant. The comments range from "outrageous'' to "silly,'' Norman insisting that Bryant is "just a guy'' who "doesn't 'wow' you.''
For almost a week, Bryant has resisted the temptation to retaliate verbally ... and in our conversations leading up to Wednesday in the locker room at The Star in Frisco, essentially continued to resist being lured into the foolishness.
The Bleacher Report interview features Norman insisting that while Dez can "bully'' other DBs, he can't do so to Norman because "you can’t bully a bully. You know what I’m saying? That’s why his game doesn’t resonate to me.''
Dez doesn't have a comeback specific to Norman, and in fact during the group media session wasn't even asked about Norman's comments. Bryant did, however, address his feelings about his team and his role.
“This is the best team I've ever been a part of,’’ Bryant said ... and he knows the context in which he's saying this. Because last year's team was better than Washington's at every turn. "We have something special.''
In fact, Bryant and the Cowboys' 2016 work against Norman and the Redskins "resonated'' just fine. Dallas swept the Redskins last year.
In the two games, Dallas’ offense averaged 29 points and 366.5 yards per, with Bryant totaling 12 catches for 174 yards. Despite thoughts that Washington would use Norman to shadow Bryant all over the field, the Redskins declined to do so ... leaving Norman to attempt some cheap-shot tactics when their paths did cross …
Above, Norman applying his cleats to Bryant's fingers. Below, Norman twisting Bryant's knee.
The tension continued into the night, Norman issuing an odd throwaway line suggesting that Bryant had threatened gun violence during their in-game chattering, and Bryant responding via Twitter:
Dez today on Norman, in the only bow to the rivalry? "He'll see me when he sees me. When I line up against him, we're going to go at it. That’s what it is."
Bryant spend Wednesday having fun on the practice field, then later having fun with his pals on the golf course, and in between having fun with the media, particularly when he referenced a visit to The Star from Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato ... and reflected on his own driving habits.
“I don’t do it anymore,” Bryant said, "(but when) I first got my license (as a teenager), I got it suspended for a year because I was going a little bit too fast. The fastest I have been (more recently, as an adult), I have gone probably about 180.
“When I got pulled over it was pretty cool,” Bryant continued. “The cop said ‘I couldn’t catch you. I had to turn my lights off to get up with you.’ He didn’t give me a ticket. He thought it was pretty cool, too. It was good. He was a good sport.”
The Norman-Bryant relationship, of course, is not as "cool'' as Dez' relationship with that cop.
Norman, now, to Bleacher Report: “He’s trying to be a tough guy and that’s not him. That’s not how you play ball. The media really created this “talk trash” with me. I don’t really talk to these guys. They’re talking to themselves. I just play them. And then they get a little snippet of me having a conversation with them and blast it on ESPN. So now when I go up against people, the coaches tell them: “Don’t talk to Josh! He’ll get in your head!” My coaches think I have this magic wand and just automatically make these people do something crazy.’’
Bryant, now, again speaking not specifically to any critic but just generally, about his own growth, to close:
“I’m an taking (leadership) extremely seriously. I want to lead by example. Not gonna run my mouth. Go hard each and every play. If not a pass, I’m going to go hard in the running game as if it’s a pass play. That’s my goal … to be better than last year.’’