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Josh Norman Has Had a Hell of a Summer

The cornerback got name-dropped by Jay Z and Ric Flair — and, oh yeah, he got paid

The Washington Post via Getty Images
The Washington Post via Getty Images

If you can’t seem to get Josh Norman’s name out of your head, you’re not alone.

On Tuesday, he was called out at Falcons training camp by none other than Ric Flair. “This is the ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair at Falcons training camp with my main man, my brother, Julio Jones, the greatest wide receiver in the NFL,” Flair said. “That’s right, Josh Norman: The best. Nobody catches up to Julio Jones. Wooooooo! Go Falcons.”

This came a day after Norman announced that he would be joining Fox’s NFL coverage this season as a regular contributor in pretaped shots, live hits, and in-studio segments during Washington’s bye week (Week 9, if you’re interested). Norman has likened the move to broadcasting to his other off-field pursuit: spending time with his beloved American Saddlebred horse, Delta.

“It’s my off time. I can do whatever I choose,” he told ESPN’s Dianna Russini.

This caps a summer that was anything but quiet for the lockdown cornerback, who made his first Pro Bowl last year with the Panthers. His reward for this performance: He got paid. After a surprise withdrawal of Carolina’s franchise tag in April, Norman eventually landed in Washington, where he signed a five-year, $75 million contract, making him the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL.

He was also awarded with a kind of NFL immortality: In Madden 17, he received a score of 94, making him the top-rated cornerback. In June, Norman’s name was featured in Jay Z’s verse on DJ Khaled’s “I Got the Keys”: “One-on-one with the corner, with no safety help. I perform like Josh Norman, I ain’t normal.”

“Boy,” tweeted Norman’s former teammate, Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, “when HOV shout you out on a song boy you somebody!!”

The mounting accolades have rankled Norman’s old foes and created some new ones. Notable among his offseason sparring partners: the Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr., with whom Norman feuded last season after Beckham slammed into Norman’s head during a chippy Week 15 face-off, a hit for which the wide receiver was given a one-game suspension. Sparks continued to fly throughout the spring; in March, OBJ fired off a pointed subtweet: “That boy should thank me for all I’ve done for you !!! Your welcome tho … Lol.” Norman quickly responded, accusing OBJ of having trigger fingers. In a May essay in the The Players’ Tribune, Norman suggested that their feud has “beauty in it.” And after Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson questioned Norman’s Madden rating last month, Norman offered up 2016’s Sickest Burn™: a very unconcerned Kermit the Frog.

Forget Richard Sherman. There’s a new loudest cornerback in town.