Chris Russell: Redskins better off without 'fraud' Josh Norman

Chris Lingebach
February 14, 2020 - 4:47 pm

Josh Norman was a "fraud" and the Redskins are so much better off without him, Chris Russell said Friday on 106.7 The Fan.

After Norman's release, Russell spent five minutes running the corner down on the radio, saying Redskins fans hardly knew the real Josh Norman.

"Norman said this was their decision, not his," Russell said. "Norman did not want to be here. He did not want to be here before last year, never mind after this year. Norman did not want to be here anymore. He's been miserable here for a long time."

When former Redskins corner Bashaud Breeland hit free agency after the 2017 season, Norman "badmouthed" Breeland, according to Russell, to sources inside the Panthers organization.

Breeland initially agreed to a three-year, $24 million contract with Carolina, but the deal was voided after a failed physical – the result of a laceration on Breeland's foot. Breeland would go on to play for the Packers in 2018 and the Chiefs in 2019, winning Super Bowl LIV.

"Norman also, from what I have been told by two different people, badmouthed Bashaud Breeland to several people inside the Panthers organization, and people that used to be in the Panthers organization that are influential voices," said Russell, "when Breeland agreed to a long-term deal with the Panthers – and, ironically, Ron Rivera – back after the 2017 season.

"But because he had a foot issue or whatever it was, he failed the physical and the contract was void."

"This is the kind of guy you are dealing with with Josh Norman. Not a good guy," Russell said. "The media loved him because he talked, because he was a good soundbite, and because he was the highest paid player on defense, and we need to talk to people like that."

"I thought from day one Josh Norman was a fraud," he said.

According to Russell, it was clear from the first season of Norman's five-year deal with the Redskins that he was "not long for this place."

"As soon as I saw what was going on here – 'Oh, Fox. I'm gonna be on game day. I'm gonna be wired up and microphone.' – all this stuff, and then you see him on Dancing With The Stars, and you see him with a farm out in Ashburn, and you see him on TV shows, and you see him calling himself 'Hollywood.' You knew that Josh Norman was not long for this place," Russell said.

"You knew that Josh Norman cared more about Josh Norman the personality than he did even about Josh Norman the football player," he said. "Never mind the Washington Redskins and the paying customers."

"Josh Norman didn't care one ounce about that," Russell continued. "Oh, I'm gonna go on the Blue Angels. Oh, I'm gonna go Pamplona'ing and running with the bulls. I'm gonna do all that and tell you guys about it, but before I tell you guys about it, I'm gonna pull you all over to the side and say, 'You know those columns that you guys are writing about me being a possible cut? Yeah, I don't like that. I don't appreciate that. If you guys keep doing that, I'm gonna not talk to you guys anymore.'

"That's what happened. I was there. That's what happened last May. Pulled everybody off to the side and said, 'I've been good to you guys. Stop writing that stuff.' People don't want to talk about that. I will. I was there. I have nothing to hide. I have nothing to protect. I don't care if Josh Norman hates me, likes me, knows me – I don't care. I'm telling ya, the guy was a fraud."

Russell pointed to comments Norman made immediately following Washington's Week 15 loss to the Eagles. The Redskins held a three-point lead late into the fourth quarter, until Norman surrendered the go-ahead score to Eagles receiver Greg Ward. The Redskins wouldn't score again, losing 37-27. Shortly thereafter, Norman was asked if he believed he was still an elite corner.

"Trust me, there were fraud-like tendencies even then," Russell said. "Remember on December 15th, when he said, 'I'm still a great corner! I'm still the best corner in the NFL.' Please. You want to talk about a fraud? Oh my goodness. The Redskins are so much better for not having Josh."

"I don't care if they replace him with an 85-year-old grandma on crutches," he added. "I don't care. The Redskins are better off without Josh Norman. And that might seem harsh, but it is a cold, harsh business. It is the reality, and Ron Rivera knew it. Even if the contract wasn't what the contract was, which made it easy, Ron Rivera would have known it and seen right through it. Fraud. Period."