LANDOVER — Josh Norman didn’t want to draw a crowd, but indicated a few reporters could follow him as he left the Redskins’ locker room. By the time he reached the elevator, others joined in and soon, the cornerback’s back was, literally, against a wall.
But as he faced questions about his role, his future and the game-deciding play that cost Washington a victory in Philadelphia’s 37-27 win Sunday, Norman smiled.
On his 32nd birthday, Norman came off the bench late, after Washington suffered a series of injuries at cornerback — and promptly gave up the game-losing touchdown as Eagles wide receiver Greg Ward hauled in a wide-open catch in the corner of the end zone with 26 seconds left.
Norman trailed on the play and couldn’t get to Carson Wentz’ pass in time. It was the latest stumble for the three-time Pro Bowler, who was benched three weeks ago.
But talking to reporters, Norman was confident his days as a top-level cornerback aren’t over.
Asked if he believes he is an elite cornerback, Norman was defiant: “I don’t ‘believe’ anything … I am.
“Sucks that I can’t prove it right now, but … you’ve got to play the cards you’re dealt. That’s what it is. I was dealt a hand right now and I’ve got to play it.”
That hand includes being passed over for players named Danny Johnson and Aaron Colvin, whose salaries are dwarfed by Norman’s $14.3 million cap hit.
When interim coach Bill Callahan explained the decision to sit Norman, he said it was primarily to evaluate the team’s younger prospects. But that undersold how Norman has underperformed in 2019. Entering Sunday, the 32-year-old had allowed 31 receptions for 468 yards and seven touchdowns, according to Pro Football Focus.
The move also seems to indicate the Redskins will move on from Norman once the season ends. Washington can cut the veteran for $3 million in dead money, saving $12.5 million in the process.
Asked about his future with the Redskins, Norman pointed out he has one year left on the five-year, $75 million deal he signed in 2016. “We’ll see what happens,” he said.
Addressing the final play, Norman said he didn’t want to throw anyone under the bus. He said he would “take it on the chin.”
“I’m blessed, man,” Norman said. “I truly am. Even in this situation, it may not look that way. Trust me. It ain’t no gray skies when I look out. Only thing is sunny … If I don’t play another snap, another down, that’s what it is.”
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