The manner in which the Panthers and Josh Norman parted ways this offseason clearly left a very bitter taste in the All-Pro corner’s mouth.
In an interview for ESPN the Magazine’s latest cover piece, former Panthers cornerback Josh Norman had some choice words about his prior employer.
The article says that Norman, now a Washington Redskin, was told by team officials to “tone down” the trash talk to which Norman complied, albeit reluctantly. At multiple times in the interview he spoke of the Panthers organization as being one that constrained him and tried to suppress his boisterous personality.
"“‘That’s just not me, man. I’m not fake…I just feel like I can grow,’ Norman says. ‘In Washington, it feels like everybody can say whatever they want. It’s a free-flowing kind of place. It’s like going from a dictatorship to freedom.’”"
Norman went on to tell interviewer and author Kevin Van Valkenburg that he wasn’t a fan of the strictly run Panthers organization and felt as though they chose who the spotlight would shine on.
"“… [W]hen he became a star, he also felt muzzled by the Panthers’ conservative front office, which made it clear his brashness wasn’t welcome. Norman wonders whether that factored into their eventual divorce. ‘They kind of shunned me,’ he says. ‘They turned down a lot of stuff for me, interviews, sponsorship deals, stuff I didn’t even know about. They wanted it to be about the two main guys, Cam [Newton] and Luke [Kuechly].’”"
Norman’s time with the Panthers will be remembered by many for his final year in which he became one of the league’s elite cornerbacks, earning All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors and eventually having the franchise tag rescinded.
What many don’t realize though is that Norman’s early years were filled with this rowdy, trash-talking persona and had the front office and coaching staff trying to get the talented corner to mature.
Either way, Norman’s split with the team will always leave a bitter taste with likely the team and the cornerback.
During the rest of the interview, Norman also talked about his feud with Odell Beckham Jr., his stance on Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league and even went as far as to trash-talk Denver Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas for his Super Bowl performance.
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