- The Washington Times
Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Most of the NFL’s offseason practices before training camp are voluntary, meaning players have the option of whether to attend them. But as it turns out, there still can be a price to pay for not showing up.

Redskins star Josh Norman left $200,000 on the table after skipping Washington’s voluntary workouts, ESPN’s Field Yates reported. Norman did not meet his contractually mandated minimum of attending 90% of the offseason program, leading to a reduction in salary.

Norman, though, wasn’t the only Redskins to lose out on money. Five other players saw their salaries reduced: safety Landon Collins ($175,000), tackle Trent Williams ($150,000), wideout Paul Richardson ($150,000), cornerback Quinton Dunbar ($100,000) and tight end Vernon Davis ($50,000).

Each player had their own reasons for not participating. Collins, for instance, was recovering from a torn labrum, while Richardson (shoulder) and Dunbar (nerve/leg) were also being cautious with their former injuries. Williams reportedly missed time because he is upset with the organization over his contract and the way it handled a tumor on his scalp, the latter of which needed to be removed. Davis’ absences were unknown.

Norman, meanwhile, skipped out on voluntary sessions to focus on other activities. The Pro Bowl cornerback spent his time traveling around the country — helping Flint, Michigan residents by delivering water bottles to their community and handing out blankets and supplies to asylum seekers and migrants near the U.S-Mexico border. He also spent time with the Blue Angels, riding in a jet.

Just last week, Norman was spotted in Pamplona, Spain — running with the bulls. Cameras caught Norman leaping over a bull, leaving others to question the cornerback’s decision-making, given the risks of the event. The 31-year-old, though, did not suffer an injury and defended his decision to The NFL Network’s Rich Eisen.

Five of the six – including Norman — attended Washington’s mandatory minicamp last month. But Williams still stayed away from the team.

Speaking to reporters in June, Norman defended his decision to skip the team’s voluntary workouts.

“I love the game, I really do, but I respect the game,” Norman said. “When I come back I treat it as I did as I was a young kid. I love it and I always will, but there’s other priorities that take place as well. And that’s one of my things, my purpose in life is to help others as well.”

Coach Jay Gruden, too, said he understood each of his players’ absences. Besides the six who saw their salary reduced, the Redskins also had other notables like running back Adrian Peterson and safety Montae Nicholson on different occasions.

“The coaches are put in a unique situation here where you want everybody to be here, but it’s voluntary based on the (collective bargaining agreement) so there’s really no reaction that we can have other than coach the guys that are here the best way we can and get them ready,” Gruden said in May. “We told them today that this is for your benefit, not ours. You know, we’re trying to get you better. Some players that choose not to be here, that’s their own choice. They feel like they’re getting better with their own trainers in their own way, which is understandable. We just coach the guys that are here.”

While the money lost is a significant amount, it represents a small portion of each player’s actual salary. Norman, for example, carries an $11 million base salary in 2019 — tied for the third-highest salary at his position.

The Redskins begin their training camp in Richmond next week.

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