SNIDER: Redskins’ Norman never matched the hype

Rick Snider
February 14, 2020 - 11:59 am
Josh Norman is free to find a new dance partner after the Redskins tired of his bull.
The Redskins cornerback will be released by Washington with one year left on his contract that never lived up to the firepower of $75 million over five years. Instead, incoming Redskins coach Ron Rivera decided his former Pro Bowler in Carolina hasn't aged well in Washington.
This isn't about a disgruntled coaching staff that benched Norman finally getting rid of him. Those coaches are gone. Same for former president Bruce Allen, who was also fired after the 3-13 season.
No, this isn't about bad blood. It's about moving on after four lackluster seasons by Norman. He always seemed like someone bored with sports, but couldn't leave the money behind. You could make Norman play, but you couldn't make him care.
That Norman was on "Dancing with the Stars" over the offseason is irrelevant. It was his time off, and at least dancing was better than drinking and getting into trouble. But jumping over bulls in Pamplona, Spain last year was a backbreaker. Yes, it was on his own time, but it was reckless and dangerous. The Redskins had a major investment in Norman and running from bulls could have seriously injured him. Nobody ever died while dancing with the stars, but Norman literally jumped over a bull twice.
That moment showed Norman didn't care about football any more. He claimed to be all in come training camp, but succeeding in the NFL requires more than 60 minutes on a field. Sure, players can have free time, but their careers are short and many sacrifice free time to succeed. It's why quarterbacks are often in film rooms on Tuesdays during the season, surrendering their only day off each week to get a little better.
Norman is 32 years old, a time when those aging legs don't keep up with shiny new receivers. He has to play smarter and it never showed in Washington. How many times was Norman looking at a teammate after a touchdown like the score was on the latter? Way too many.
Norman got paid and was a letdown. Redskins history is littered with those scenarios. Why, Albert Haynesworth just snoozed on the ground rather than continue. Maybe a new venue will give Norman a fresh start while the Redskins save $12 million against the salary cap to help pay for some pricey players to come.
Meanwhile, Norman shuffles off to another town, maybe Buffalo.
Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks