SNIDER: Josh Norman leans on Bible for strength

Rick Snider
October 15, 2018 - 11:31 am
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Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

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Forget the playbook – Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman turned to the Bible to fuel his best game in two years.

After his first interception since Dec. 2016 plus a forced fumble in the Redskins' 23-17 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Norman recalled Joshua 1:9, saying, "Have I not commanded you to be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

I've covered athletes for 40 years, and I've never heard someone talk of the Bible as a strategic strength. And yet, Norman was exactly on cue. The book of Joshua discusses how Norman's namesake would lead the Israelites across the Jordan River into the promised land following Moses' death, with God promising victory in coming battles against enemies.

Norman was coming off his worst week in Washington since signing a $75 million deal. He was benched briefly after halftime against New Orleans on Oct. 8 following an encounter with coach Jay Gruden over wearing a headset while the latter was speaking. Talk of Norman not being a leader and too worried over being a celebrity struck him. And he responded by the words of his Biblical ancestor.

"That struck a match in me to be like, 'Okay we courageous, we strong wherever that may come up against us, we know we will be able to stand the test of time.' And we came out there as a unit, all guys on the field, all 11 guys – it wasn't one guy, it wasn't that, it wasn't this – it was all guys going out there and doing their job," Norman said. “And we did it to a phenomenal, executional way. I just want to tip my hats off to those guys and really appreciate everything they've put into it this week.”

Norman likes to tell teammates they are lions. After a troubled week, the pack came to his aid.

"If they have my back and I got their back, and they can trust in me and I can trust in them," he said, "then that's all that matters."

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks.

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