Washington’s outspoken cornerback will have an even bigger platform in 2016 thanks to a second job. Norman joins Brandon Marshall as an active NFL player with a regular side gig as a TV commentator for a national network

By Emily Kaplan
August 08, 2016

Few in the NFL prey on individual warfare quite like Josh Norman who, in the last year, has publicly challenged Odell Beckham Jr., Max Kellerman, Patrick Peterson, Deion Sanders and Roddy White among others. Washington’s ambitious cornerback has never shied from asserting his beliefs.

So in April, when he heard Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall was nominated for two sports Emmys for his role as a Showtime analyst, Norman ignited a new competition. He told friends he wasn’t just going to win two Emmy’s. He could win four.

That has propelled Norman into his latest venture: The NFL’s highest-paid corner will be a regular contributor for Fox’s NFL coverage this season. It is a one-year agreement stipulating a minimum of 10 appearances. He’ll make his debut on the Week 1 edition of Fox NFL Kickoff, 11 a.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 11.

“I haven’t told Coach [Jay] Gruden or [defensive coordinator Joe] Barry yet, but I’ll give them a nice shout out on TV,” Norman says. “It’s not at all going to be a distraction. If you keep your focus on you and not anybody else, you’re going to be fine. I’m going to be me on Sunday.”

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Marshall has been an in-studio analyst for Showtime’s Inside the NFL since 2014, an unprecedented role for an active player. Norman’s Fox gig is just as significant, though less defined. The 28-year-old will appear in pre-taped segments as well as live hits from the stadium or his home in Virginia (Fox will send a crew). On his bye week, Norman will travel for in-studio shows, and he will also have the opportunity to work on feature and access-driven stories.

The arrangement could include Norman appearing on a show on the same day he plays in a game, which is something he says “is not going to be a problem at all.” (A Fox spokesperson says that while the network is hopeful Norman will be available for pregame hits, they’ve received no promises in that regard.)

“Our No. 1 priority in this relationship is to make sure we do not get in the way of anything on the field, this is completely secondary,” says John Entz, Fox Sports president of production and executive producer. “If there is ever a time where he feels this is something that gets in the way of his focus, then we completely understand that and we will respect that. If he ever came to us, and said, ‘I need a break,’ that’s something we would be comfortable allowing.”

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Norman’s publicist, Jeanine Juliano, says Norman understands the challenges of commenting on current and potentially polarizing topics during the season, as well as the full-year commitment. Juliano laid out a scenario. Say it’s Week 8 and the team is not playing well or Norman has an off game, he still has to appear on television. “I know,” Norman told her, again and again. “I’m in.”

Though Norman does not have formal broadcast training, he has appeared on Fox programming as a guest before. He began serious discussions with the network shortly after the Super Bowl, when he was still on Carolina’s roster. The Panthers rescinded Norman’s franchise tag in April, inciting a dramatic free agency that concluded with a five-year, $75-million deal with Washington.

Entz said the network considered adding current players to broadcasts over the past several years for a similar role, though nothing came together.

“It takes a special and unique individual that wants to do this and would be good at it,” Entz said. “It’s not as easy as going down the starting lineups. We’re very excited about Josh. We’re going to try this out, and see where it goes.”

“I have a good personality,” Norman says. “Talking in that space… I’m not sure if that’s what I’ll do after my career, but I like exploring it now. It’s nice that I’m able to get my truth out there.”

If all goes according to plan, Norman says, the season will conclude with a Super Bowl ring as well as an Emmy.

Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

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