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Josh Norman Eager To Return To Action, Face Off With Dez Bryant


Optimistic he will be cleared by doctors, Josh Norman is eager to get back on the field this Sunday at FedExField, where he will face the task of defending wide receiver Dez Bryant.

When Redskins cornerback Josh Norman found out he would miss his second consecutive game last weekend, he posted an Instagram video expressing his extreme frustration and disappointment. If it hasn't already been clear, Norman wears his emotions on his sleeve, and it has pained him greatly to miss time on the field.

As the team prepares on a short week for the Dallas Cowboys this Sunday, Norman is hoping he won't have to share any more bad news with the world in relation to the fractured rib that has kept him limited in practiced and sidelined the last two gamedays.

Norman said he made a healthy progression after Thursday's practice, the first one of the week for the Redskins, dealing with a variety of injury concerns. He said he was still sore, but practiced without much limitation.

"Felt good last week, felt good this week," Norman said. "I turned finally for the first time like that. I really, actually got active. It feels a little sore, but that comes with the territory of that injury, but I felt fine. I don't see any problems or reasons why I can't go this week."

Head coach Jay Gruden said Norman would see doctors Thursday night or Friday to determine if he would be cleared for Sunday's game. Although he didn't like the decision to sit last week, Norman also realized the importance in letting an internal injury heal as much as possible.

"They had to make sure I was aware of that and understood the ramifications on what took place," Norman said. "As a guy who has that mindsight of going out there and attacking everything, that was the first time I was sat down. They've got to sit me down to bring me back up. Maybe this is it, I don't know. We'll see when I get out there."

If Norman is able to suit up with a pad covering his rib on Sunday, he will do so in time to take on Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant. The two have sparred verbally over the last couple of seasons, and most recently in Samsung commercials, in which the two of them agreed to star in this offseason, to stir up their rivalry.

"It was a nice little lucrative check-off," Norman said. "On the field, maybe something totally different. You never know what you get until Sunday gets here. I'm a totally different guy talking to you right now than I will be Sunday between the white lines. All things are good and well now, but who knows where it may go when we get to the game-time situation? Got to tip your hats off to that."

Check out these photos of the Redskins' defense and special teams preparing for their Week 8 game against the Dallas Cowboys Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park.

Bryant hasn't gotten off to a riveting start. Through six games, he's caught 28 passes for 327 yards and four touchdowns, and doesn't have a 100-yard performance yet.

Against the Redskins last year, Bryant caught seven passes for 102 yards, lining up primarily with cornerback Bashaud Breeland. On Thanksgiving, Norman took over the primary coverage duties on Bryant and held him to five catches for 72 yards. Norman can't wait for another round with him.

"That's what we're looking forward to," Norman said. "Those are they guys, the big guys every week that you come out here and match up against them and see what you can do with them and hold your own. You've got to look at that and see what that looks like, dissect it inside and out and go to work. Go to work come Sundays. It's a battle, so we've got to go out there and win that contest. It's going to be fun. I think there's going to be a lot of fireworks that comes about. Have a little fun with it."

"I think those are two very competitive guys and their personalities are probably similar," Gruden said. "I don't know Dez, but they seem like they are very similar, very fiery type guys. [They] want to win, want to produce, want to be in the limelight and make plays and they both have done that in their careers and it's a great matchup always."

As Norman prepares for what he hopes with be another round in this annual fight, he'll be more grateful if he can simply be on the field for his teammates again, providing some needed help to a defense still licking its wounds from Monday night.

"I'm trying to be out there and be an active, getting guys to know that we're here, we got you out here so you don't have to worry about that," Norman said. "Give them more confidence going out there to do what we do. Things are going to be all right."

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