One year ago today, the Redskins signed All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman just prior to the start of the 2016 NFL Draft. Redskins.com looks back at his first year in Washington.
In a turn of events that sent shockwaves through the NFL, the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday, April 20, 2016, announced the rescinding of cornerback Josh Norman's franchise tag. The move immediately made the All-Pro a free agent, open to signing with any team.
Check out images of cornerback Josh Norman during his first few months with the Washington Redskins.
While there was interest among a few teams around the league, Norman only made one official visit: to the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va.
Late in the evening on April 22, 2016, the Redskins and Norman agreed on a new multi-year contract.
With Saturday marking the completion of Norman's first year with the Redskins, we look back at some of the Coastal Carolina's products top moments so far in Washington:
April 22, 2016: "I want to win the granddaddy of them all"
Norman official signs with the Redskins, giving the defensive unit an immediate game-changer to lock up top wide receivers across the NFL.
"When the franchise tag was rescinded] it was crazy because Mr. Bruce (Allen), the President, hit [me] up right away with a jersey, No. 24,” Norman [recalled of the courting process. "And the crazy thing is I didn't see it until a day and a half later because I was still getting over the fact of what was going on. Being somewhere 28 years all your life and just in a blink of an eye, gone, just like that, I've just never been without a job … That small amount of hours, everything went rapid and I came up here and it just felt right."
Norman said Washington was an attractive landing spot due to the team's continued rebuild. His hope is that he can be a key member of a Redskins squad that brings home a Lombardi Trophy.
"I want to win the granddaddy of them all," Norman said. "I want to win the Super Bowl. And I'm not going to stop until I get back there. Because I know I will one day and then make the wrong a right."
April 25, 2016: "I carried a big bag with me when I came here"
Norman wastes no time getting to work with his new teammates, as the cornerback participates in offseason workouts at team headquarters less than 72 hours after putting ink to paper on his new contract.
His motivation was simple. Norman was out to prove that he's worthy of top-dollar, even if the Panthers didn't want to offer it to him.
"Oh my goodness, I carried a big bag with me when I came up here," Norman told reporters. "I've still got that bag with me and it's on the back with now. You can't see it, but when I step in between them white lines, I'm going to drop it. When you see it, it's going to be pretty, pretty heavy, and I can't wait until that time comes. Right now I'm just getting acclimated with my new teammates and showing them how much I care about them, loving up on them and getting to know them."
Aug. 11, 2016: The Preseason DebutNorman appears in a Redskins uniform for the first time in Washington's preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome.
The cornerback appears on just three snaps, as the first-team offense holds Matt Ryan and Co. in-check for a three-and-out series.
Sept. 12, 2016: The Regular Season Debut
In a Monday Night Football matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers at FedExField, Norman appears on all 68 of the defense's snaps, collecting six tackles and a team-high two passes defensed.
Check out these photos of Josh Norman from his 2016 season with the Redskins.
Despite the 38-16 loss, Norman remains upbeat about the team's potential with 15 games remaining on the schedule.
"At the end of the day, we are going to learn from this, we're going to get better, we're going to come out, fight harder, and come out with a victory," Norman said. "I don't think anyone here wants to come out with a loss and feel like they do now, so we just have to keep fighting."
Oct. 2, 2017: Norman Enters A 'Dark Place' For First Redskins Interception
Riding high following a last-minute victory over the New York Giants just one week prior, the Redskins returned to FedExField on the first week of October to host the winless Cleveland Browns.
Despite their 0-3 record, the Browns went toe-to-toe with the Redskins in the first half. In fact, after the Redskins jumped out to a 14-0 lead, the Browns knotted up the score in the second quarter following a nine-yard touchdown reception from Terrelle Pryor Sr.
Pryor gave Norman everything he could handle in the first two frames, collecting four receptions for 47 yards and the touchdown score.
But the tables turned in the second half, as Washington shut down Cleveland's offense in the second half and Norman picked off a pass intended for Pryor.
"Second half I went to a dark place, like shut him down, lock him down," Norman said. "Feet in the ground and just play your game, man. Don't worry about nothing else, coach called this, called that. Execute flawlessly. I did, I saw the play coming, I knew it kind of going through the film study of what he likes to do, and as soon as I did, just saw my moment and captured it."
**Oct. 30, 2017: Norman And Pogba Meet Up In London
**Calling it a "great experience" international soccer superstar Paul Pogba of Manchester United was in attendance for the rare NFL tie between the Redskins and Cincinnati Bengals.
Norman and Pogba developed a friendship the summer prior to the Redskins playing their first overseas regular season game.
"We're going to get him out to the States when he's done playing, but they play all the time," Norman said.
The two then exchanged team gear, Pogba receiving a No. 24 Redskins jersey and Norman getting a Manchester United scarf, before heading their separate ways.
Dec. 19, 2017: The Return Game
For the first time since he had his franchise tag rescinded nearly eight months prior, Norman shared a field with his former Panthers teammates, only this time on the opposite sideline.
Entering the Monday Night Football matchup, Norman said he was going to let his emotions "run wild."
"Whatever you see is what you're going to get," Norman said in a press conference that week prior to the matchup. "But I do know how to contain it to a certain extent. But then again, I just let the fire go that's inside and I don't know how to pretty much shut it off once it gets started. So it's kind of one of those things where it's going to be a different feel. Definitely it's going to be a different feel, I know that. Just because coming in earlier in the week, I paid attention to detail and then I saw something and I was like, OK, now [that] reminds me back of practice again."
While the Redskins struggled in a defeat to the Panthers, Norman recorded seven tackles and a pass defensed.
"Had to pinch myself for a second there, stop and look at it all, kinda realize that I'm at the other side of the spectrum over here," Norman said after the game. "It was kind of cool to see it outside looking in, here now with the Washington Redskins, seeing what it takes, seeing what you need to do to continue to go out there and execute what the coaches ask what you're doing and doing it in a way where you're technically sound. And so we're out here and they're trying to do that today and they just made one more play than we did. They got the job done."
Dec. 24, 2017: Norman Logs A Multi-Interception Game
In a convincing 41-21 victory over the Chicago Bears on Christmas, both Norman and Bashaud Breeland recorded a pair of interceptions.
It was the first time in his career that the 29-year hauled in a pair of picks in the same game.
"It was big," Norman said. "I think the first half, we had one, and [Matt] Barkley just kept throwing the ball. One, I was pissed off – came out pissed off in the second half. I really did. There was a lot of stuff going on. I didn't really think that was supposed to be, but that's the game. You've got to continue to play through.
That second half, like I said, I got to the point where I felt disrespected, so I came out and man, I was just locked in. I went to a whole different place, went to a dark place in my mind and just said enough is enough. God helped me out with that because I said a quick prayer. I said, 'Look, man, we've got to get this out of here. Let them stop this crap.' And it did. We came out and had a whole other different half."