There have been many stories about Josh Norman recently. Some have been written by local reporters about how his lucrative, multi-year contract with the Redskins got finished. Some have been penned by himself, about growing up and leaving Carolina.
Add another one to the mix, this time written by The MMQB, which covers more personal details about his fateful week and his adjustment to life in Washington, D.C.
"Taking in a view like this, you see everything the city has to offer," Norman said from the capitol building a couple weeks ago. "The freedom, the power, the glory. I can have it all here."
That was made possible thanks to the Redskins' all-out blitz upon finding out that the Panthers' had rescinded Norman's franchise tag. You know most of the story already, though the writer, Emily Kaplan, adds a few more details: a Redskins No. 24 jersey sent to Norman's mother; a private plane sent to his home in Atlanta with Joe Barry, Perry Fewell, family members and grilled steak and chicken; a meeting with general manager Scot McCloughan, who didn't care about his football philosophy so much as his life's pursuits.
Norman grew up with four brothers and 20 horses in Greenwood, S.C. He played college football at Coastal Carolina and he thought, while with the Panthers, that he would be a Carolina resident for life. When the news broke that his franchise tag had been taken back, the suddenness hit him hard.
"For an hour and a half, he just lay there on the floor, motionless," his mother said. "He didn't want to move, he didn't want to talk."
When the Redskins swooped in – literally – he realized he needed to turn the page in the middle of his disarray.
The Washington Redskins announced on Friday, April 22, the signing of free agent cornerback Josh Norman. Here's a gallery of photos from his career.
"The first thing he said to me was, 'Sorry I didn't answer any of your texts,'" Barry said about meeting him. "He said he'd read them all—he was just so overwhelmed he didn't have a chance to respond."
Later, Barry offered him some wisdom.
"Look, you're going to get paid wherever you go. Make sure you find the right fit."
During his meeting with McCloughan, Norman eventually got around to discussing the Redskins' style of football. He wanted to know the schemes he'd be playing and what his identity would be in the defense, in comparison to the Panthers.
"It was black and white and some gray," Norman said of Carolina's scheme. "Here everything is gray—it's more free. I can not just be in a scheme, but be a football player. I have a little more freedom. The shackles have been broken off, and man, I'm going to show them something they've never seen before."
When the deal got done, "he hugged me really hard," McCloughan said. "He hugged me for like 10 seconds. He didn't let go."
Now, Norman is adjusting. He's making plans to start reaching out into his new community – now that he's rubbed shoulders at the White House Correspondents Dinner – and is starting to get recognized on the street.
He's realizing can have it all here.