The two had lockers next to each other in Carolina, but it appears they were far from close to each other.
In an interview with the Charlotte Observer, Norman blasted Munnerlyn’s leadership and mentoring abilities while he was with the Panthers.
“I didn’t take nothing from him. Nothing,” Norman told the Observer last week. “We weren’t very tight. Captain had me doing so much little petty stuff.
“I’m bigger than him. I think I’m better than him. He knew it. The craziest part about it was he’d try to find little things to get in my head. It was like, ‘Man, we’re on the same team. You should want to help us out.’”
Norman is 6 feet and 195 pounds and in his third NFL season. Munnerlyn is 5-foot-9 and 195 pounds and admitted to Viking Update this summer that he has a chip on his shoulder about his size that contributes to his highly competitive nature. Even when not talking about the Norman comments on Monday, Munnerlyn said he was thankful to the Panthers for drafting “little old Captain Munnerlyn” in the seventh round in 2009.
Norman has two interceptions and 13 passes defensed in 32 games played, including 17 starts. Munnerlyn has nine interceptions, including five for touchdowns, and 43 passes defensed in 88 games played, including 61 starts. This year, Norman has started five games for the Panthers while Munnerlyn has started all 11 for the Vikings.
“It was a slap in the face to me when I read (what Norman said),” Munnerlyn said. “It was a slap in the face that he would come out and say that I’m the type of guy that didn’t try to help him and all that.”
Norman said Munnerlyn would “try to find little things to get in my head” and said Munnerlyn would give him false information, intimating that Munnerlyn was trying to hold Norman back.
“If you know me, if you go in that organization and you ask the other cornerbacks or anybody in that organization, they will tell you I’m a guy who’s willing to help and lay it on the line each and every day,” Munnerlyn said. “I’m not a guy that will sit back and say, ‘No, I’m not going to help you.’ I’m not that guy. I’ve never been that guy. I don’t care if you’re right behind me or you’re starting in front of me. If I know something I’m going to let you know because it can make the team better. If we’re winning games, everybody’s happy.”
Neither team is winning with enough frequency this year. The Vikings are 4-7 and essentially out of the playoffs. The Panthers are 3-7-1 but only one game away from being in the lead in the ratty NFC South.
Norman said Munnerlyn was part of a veteran group of defensive backs that put a $16,000 or $17,000 tab on the two rookie defensive backs in 2012. “Rookie dinners,” where a position group goes out to an expensive dinner and the rookies at that position split the tab, are commonplace around the NFL. But Norman admitted that the actions never reached the level of rookie hazing.
“I knew I was going to overtake him, and he knew it, too,” Norman told the Observer. “So he was always trying to come at me about my mind and how I can’t read concepts and get stuff. ‘OK, guy, whatever.’ And he was trying to find little ways to keep me down.”
Despite being in the NFL three fewer years than Munnerlyn, Norman is actually about four months older than Munnerlyn.
“(Norman’s interview) definitely was surprising. It’s probably deeper than what he’s saying. I really don’t know what it is,” Munnerlyn said. “I’m just going to go out there and play football. I don’t have to play against him. He don’t have to play against me. He’s got to worry our offense; I’ve got to worry about their offense. So I don’t know where it came from and I’m sure I won’t say too much to him about it.”