In the biggest splash of the 2016 free agency period, the Washington Redskins added Josh Norman, who in turn hopes he can lead the team to a Super Bowl title.
From the moment the Carolina Panthers decided that they were ready to move on from Josh Norman, rescinding his franchise tag after a career year, the Washington Redskins were prepared to bring him to Washington, D.C., and make him a key part of a defense that wants to advance well into the playoffs in 2016.
"It came out of nowhere. It really did," Norman told Larry Michael on "Redskins Nation" Friday evening. "I got sideswiped – I didn't see it coming."
And once word got out about Norman's availability, the Redskins immediately jumped at the opportunity to get his attention.
The team's courtship started with a simple message.
It ended Friday, when they signed Norman to a reported five-year deal.
"When [the franchise tag was rescinded] it was crazy because Mr.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 said. "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 was dominating on the Panthers' defense in 2015, as he recorded four interceptions and two touchdowns in the first month of the season before offenses learned to stop trying to test him.
The Coastal Carolina product finished the season with first-team All-Pro honors while being the Pro Football Writers Association's Co-Most Improved Player of the Year along with new teammate Kirk Cousins.
After being on a Panthers team that won the NFC Championship in 2015, Norman wanted to remain on a team that is capable of making it to the Super Bowl.
He's getting that in a young Redskins squad that is coming off a division title in 2015.
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.
"I would say what attracted me the most was that it still was a competitive team," Norman said. "When we played you guys last year, y'all was competing all the way until the bitter end. It was no let-up. You guys had the fight in you all. You're a playoff team; it was in the thick of things. And one piece here, one piece there, you guys can do what Carolina (did) when they went to the Super Bowl last year. And when I came here and I said that (about) that one missing piece, who knows, but I guarantee I'm going to give everything I am, everything I've got, because that's how I get it."
Norman added: "That's how I fight – all the way from the bottom to the top and I get it. And that's what we're gonna bring here, and that's what the President and the owner and everyone, the coaching staff, everybody's been great, and they've been wanting that, and we're bringing that here."
The five-year veteran was at Redskins Park in Loudoun County, Va., for the majority of the day on Friday, where he got to see first-hand what the organization is like.
"I just feel so great about being here and the craziest part about it is you guys have been so nice to me since Day One," Norman said. "I mean everything [since] I've been here since I got off that plane, you guys have been so nice to me. I felt that homecoming and everything that was here. And so when I say that, everything I put into it since Day One, I'm going to give back just that much for it tenfold."
Norman joins a team that already features quite a bit of leadership, but he said he was "born" to be a leader, something he hopes to show early on this offseason.
"I know I was like that coming up through high school," Norman said. "2006 we won our state championship. I was leading the force in that. Getting to college I was a leader for my team there and we won our conference championship. And then now coming up to the NFL I was a leader of the secondary group, of the 'thieves.' And we just continued to play our game and we rose to the top and we went to the Super Bowl. And now, coming here bringing all those things I've learned, bringing all those things that I've grown up under."
Norman's goals for the 2016 season are set on hoisting a Lombardi Trophy.
"I'm looking forward to getting back to the playoffs here," Norman said. "You guys went last year, I'm looking forward to going even deeper into the playoffs and then the Super Bowl. That's our motto, that's here, that's the goal. That's the ultimate goal. Yeah, you get to playoffs, you get deep into the rounds, the divisional and then the championship. I want to win the granddaddy of them all. 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."