ASHBURN, Va. — The spring adventures ended late last month with Josh Norman losing consciousness in a flight with the Blue Angels. Norman tried to fight it, but it played out just like the pilot had predicted.
Here’s what the Washington Redskins cornerback recalls: boasting to the pilot he wouldn’t vomit; reaching a G-force of 7, and then …
“My neck started to get tight, my hands started to grip and I couldn’t tell him to stop. We got to go through it, whatever it is,” Norman said.
The pilot asked if he was OK. Norman mumbled something, only to have the pilot ask, “Are you sure?”
The easy answer was: No.
“Then I’m slowly losing consciousness, my hand started to go and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh,'” Norman said. “Next thing I know, pssssssssh, I’m asleep. Like two, three seconds, he’s going, ‘You OK, buddy?'”
— *Joshua R. Norman (@J_No24) May 24, 2019
Norman was fine because he was doing what he wanted — and needed — in the offseason. His travels took him to Flint, Michigan, to hand out bottled water; and to Rio Grande Valley in Texas to hand out supplies to immigrants.
He did not attend the Redskins’ voluntary workouts. Last year, he participated in “Dancing With the Stars,” though he also still participated in the Redskins’ workouts.
“When it’s time to come back to work, that’s what we do,” Norman said. “We don’t miss a beat. Athletes like myself, we have a different mindset about this. I love the game, I really do, but I respect the game. 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. My purpose in life is to help others as well.”
Norman certainly looked like he was in shape and also showed his competitive side during practice Thursday. Norman wanted to face rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Norman did what the Redskins hope they see more of this season: He made a diving interception for a pick in the end zone, then bounced up and sprinted to the other end zone.
As Norman was running downfield, coach Jay Gruden told an official: “Throw a flag; I want to f— with him.”
“He’s a great competitor, that’s what makes him great,” Gruden said. “He may not have the speed you might want at corner. But the one thing that sets him apart from everybody else is competitiveness. He tends to have better games when he’s on better people and he feels challenged. He’s got to understand every player is a challenge in the NFL. He’s got to step up his game at all times, but he’s an excellent player and, I think, very underrated in people’s eyes.”
Norman, who will count $14.5 million vs. the cap, will start opposite Quinton Dunbar. Norman has been outspoken at times, but the Redskins are good with him.
“I’m great with Josh. He makes our football team better,” Gruden said. “That’s all I care about, really. We’re going to have some issues from time to time where we don’t see eye-to-eye, but he’s got to understand I am the head coach and what I say goes. Not everybody believes that all the time but that’s usually the case. Especially him, but I like Josh. I like where he’s at. Wish he was here for OTAs but those are voluntary. But, he was here the last couple days and we see what type of difference he makes. [He] had two picks in two days. We need Josh, we like Josh a lot.”
“It’s been neglected,” Norman said. “I see they needed help, so why not? I’m in a position where I can and I do. That’s the difference between people. Whether it’s something you can do about it or not, some don’t. Others do. And I’m one of those people that are others.”
In April, the two players went to Rio Grande Valley together as well. They had also traveled to the border with supplies last offseason.
“You just see how they’re living, they want freedom,” Norman said. “They’re doing it the right way, some people are not. Those are the ones you got to be concerned about, which I understand that. But the ones who are, let’s cut them a break. They come and try to get away from something. A lot of people, we have the common decency, we have the necessities. Water, a bed, food, go to sleep at night, we get back up, put on our shoes and go to work. Some people, they don’t have that all, they don’t even have a cot to sleep on. So, just be mindful of that and understand that there’s a lot of people out there that are worse off than us.”
Norman said in July, he’s going to Afghanistan (he was photographed this offseason at their embassy in Washington D.C.). He’s also going to his hometown of Greenwood, South Carolina, to help open a teen center. Then, Norman said, he’ll go on a fun trip later in July. And he’ll continue to show more sides of himself.
“A lot of people what they say is, ‘He’s a controversial guy. He’s always in it with someone,'” Norman said, “But … you really don’t know me. You really don’t. And the thing is, once you see all the stuff that I do and I post it and I put up and I go out and serve others, that’s who I really am. I can’t hide or try to run from that. Either you are or you aren’t. I’ll be doing more stuff. It’s going to be pretty big. … This offseason is going to be really fun for us.”
Steelers vs. Titans – Game Summary – August 25, 2019
(8:52) (Shotgun) J.Samuels left guard to PIT 41 for 1 yard (L.Sims).
Marcus Mariota Sacked by Stephon Tuitt For 4 Yrd Loss for Safety
2 plays, -4 yards, 0:12
JuJu Smith-Schuster Pass From Ben Roethlisberger for 17 Yrds, Two-Point Conversion Pass Attempt Fail.
9 plays, 58 yards, 4:41
James Washington Pass From Mason Rudolph for 41 Yrds, C.Boswell extra point is GOOD, Center-K.Canaday, Holder-J.Berry.
2 plays, 52 yards, 0:45
Ryan Succop Made 24 Yrd Field Goal
7 plays, 43 yards, 3:25
Data is currently unavailable.
Dolphins cut McDonald in wake of position switch
The move comes as a bit of a surprise as McDonald has been one of the Dolphins’ defensive leaders, who seemed to embrace a role switch becoming a hybrid safety-linebacker in Miami’s new scheme.
McDonald, a starting Dolphins safety over the last two seasons, was due a $5 million salary in 2019. He was already guaranteed $3.6 million of that sum.
The Dolphins haven’t hidden the fact that 2019 will be a rebuilding season for them and they will part will several veteran players to make room for younger players to shine. McDonald is the latest in a busy offseason of departures.
Veteran safety Reshad Jones was rumored to be on the trade block this summer, but he said Sunday that he got assurances from the Dolphins that he would remain in Miami for the 2019 season. Instead, it seems McDonald was the veteran safety the Dolphins decided to move on from before the season began.
The Dolphins are expected to start Bobby McCain at free safety and Reshad Jones at strong safety while promising second-year defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick is expected to play both nickel cornerback and safety.
McDonald, 28, signed with the Dolphins in 2017 after spending the first four years of his career starting for the Rams.
The Dolphins offseason departures include quarterback Ryan Tannehill and defensive end Robert Quinn via trade, receiver Danny Amendola, defensive end Andre Branch, guard Josh Sitton via release. More veteran departures could be coming before cutdown day.
McDonald had three interceptions and 86 tackles in 14 games (all starts) last season. He won the 2018 Good Guy award voted upon by the South Florida media that cover the Dolphins on a regular basis.
Sportsbooks left scrambling after Luck retirement
Andrew Luck’s retirement Saturday impacted the odds to win the Super Bowl for six teams, flipped the perceived hierarchy in the AFC South on its head and even caused some bookmakers to refund bets on the former Indianapolis Colts quarterback.
Luck announced Saturday that he was retiring from the NFL after seven seasons, citing mental fatigue and injury concerns. The landscape-altering news sent bookmakers scrambling to halt betting on much of the NFL. When odds on the Colts began to re-emerge and steady on Sunday, there were significant changes.
The Colts went from second-tier Super Bowl contenders, with odds in the 15-1 range, to 60-1 long shots, along with the New York Jets. The Chargers, Pittsburgh Steelers and the Colts’ three AFC South divisional opponents, the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans, each saw their Super Bowl odds improve.
Indianapolis had been the odds-on favorite to win the AFC South, but without Luck became an underdog in the up-for-grabs division. The Texans are now the favorites in the division at most sportsbooks.
“Just basically everything we have involving the NFL, we changed,” Jeff Sherman, vice president of risk for the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas, said Sunday morning. “From the Week 1 number to the Games of the Year, to the season wins, odds to make the playoffs, division, conference, Super Bowl … yeah, it affected everything.”
The Chargers had been 3.5-point favorites over the Colts in their Week 1 meeting, before concerns over Luck’s lingering injury status increased. Luck had not appeared in the preseason while dealing with a strained calf. With his status in question, several sportsbooks stopped betting on the Colts-Chargers matchup earlier in August. The SuperBook, which elected to keep the game open for betting, reported taking a limit bet on the Chargers -3.5 on Thursday.
The MGM sportsbook took multiple limit money-line bets on the Chargers from respected customers in mid-August and took the game off the board.
“Once we took a couple pops on the money-line, we said maybe someone knows something, and we suspended it,” MGM director of race and sports Jeff Stoneback said.
After Luck’s announcement, the line on the game grew to as high as Los Angeles -9.5 at Las Vegas sportsbook operator CG Technology before settling back at -7 at most books on Sunday. Jacoby Brissett is expected to become the Colts’ starter.
Indianapolis’ season win total was sitting at 10 or 9.5 on Saturday. New Jersey sportsbooks DraftKings, FanDuel and PointsBets each trimmed the number to 6.5 after the Luck news. In Las Vegas, the SuperBook moved to 7.5, and Caesars Sportsbook went to 7.
“We did take two sharp plays on the under this week,” the MGM’s Stoneback said.
Las Vegas sportsbook operator Circa Sports also reported taking multiple limit bets on the under on the Colts’ win total earlier in the week.
Luck was a popular bet to win NFL MVP at sportsbooks, with 12-1 odds. Only favorite Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs had better odds than Luck at some shops. The SuperBook and PointsBet elected to refund bets on Luck to win the NFL MVP.
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