You were stunned by the last 50 hours or so of Josh Norman's life? Now imagine you're the actual Josh Norman.
"It came out of nowhere. It really did," the Pro Bowl cornerback and newest Redskin said of the decision by his former team. "I got sideswiped. I didn’t see it coming."
The Carolina Panthers pulled the franchise tag from Norman Wednesday after negotiations on a long-term deal apparently crashed and burned. By Friday night, the aggressive defensive back known for locking up top tier receivers was signing a reported five-year, $75 million with the Washington Redskins.
Norman and his representatives arrived at Redskins Park Friday. The Carolina native, selected by the Panthers in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, will now call Ashburn home, leaving friends behind in Charlotte.
"And for my old teammates that I had, oh my gosh, I’m gonna miss them dearly," he said shortly after signing his contract. "The guys up front, man, hugged them every time I saw them, to the linebackers – all those guys, man – to our secondary, man, the ‘thieves’ that was there, everything to the coaching staff – everything was great and I just truly pour my heart out to the guys.
"When that happened it was crazy because Mr. Bruce (Allen), the (Redskins) President, hit you up right away with a jersey, No. 24, and the crazy thing is I didn’t see it until a day and a half later because I was still getting over the fact of what was going on. Being somewhere 28 years all your life and just in a blink of an eye, gone, just like that, I’ve just never been without a job … That small amount of hours, everything went rapid and I came up here and it just felt right."
So much went right for Norman and the Panthers last season before losing to the Broncos in the Super Bowl. Now he joins a Redskins team coming off an NFC East title.
"I would say what attracted me the most was that it still was a competitive team. When we played you guys last year, y’all was competing all the way until the bitter end. It was no let-up. You guys had the fight in you all. You’re a playoff team; it was in the thick of things. And one piece here, one piece there, you guys can do what Carolina (did) when they went to the Super Bowl last year.
"And when I came here and I said that (about) that one missing piece, who knows, but I guarantee I’m going to give everything I am, everything I’ve got, because that’s how I get it. That’s how I fight – all the way from the bottom to the top and I get it. And that’s what we’re gonna bring here, and that’s what the President and the owner and everyone, the coaching staff, everybody’s been great, and they’ve been wanting that, and we’re bringing that here."
Turns out Norman is already familiar with several of his new teammates.
"Yeah, Kirk. Kirk Cousins and I, we trained down at IMG, him and Russ [Russell Wilson]. We got a little groove man, it was pretty cool. Then I’m back here with the guy again. It’s going to be great. We’re going to make each other better. D-Hall, another guy, who stays out in Atlanta who I connected with a little bit in talking to, it’s going to be pretty cool to know. And D-Jax hit me up. I’ve trained with Pierre Garcon last offseason a little bit. So guys like that, I’m getting to know myself around. I know you’ve got a young corner here who I’m very interested to see."
That young corner is rising star Bashaud Breeland. That's an on-field pairing the fans are very interested in seeing.
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