Josh Norman, Dez Bryant ‘advertising buds’ after commercials
ASHBURN Advertising money helps heal all wounds.
In the offseason, when one of the top smartphone makers approached Josh Norman and Dez Bryant about shooting a couple of commercials poking fun at their rancorous rivalry, the Redskins cornerback had to think about it.
The premise for one of the spots went like this: Reporters ask Norman at a press conference about his hostility toward Bryant and the cornerback flatly denies all, only to use, obviously, even flagrantly, his Samsung Galaxy Note 8 to trash the wide receiver in real time.
Bryant liked the idea and said yes, but Samsung needed both. Norman wasnt sure.
After all, the two NFL stars got into a post-game shoving match last season after a Week 12 Redskins loss. Bryant went on Twitter, saying hed post film showing how he exposed Norman. Norman called Bryant just a guy in a May interview.
But, hey, a paycheck is a paycheck, right?
I think I was the one holding it up, Norman said. I was just like, you know what? Lets go with it. Lets see what happens. This offseason, thats one of the top things that I did. It was like really cool, man. Im glad I did it, especially with a guy like that.
Norman has missed the Redskins last two games with a fractured rib, but is optimistic hell line up Sunday against Bryant.
The Redskins cornerback isnt sure if the goodwill built over the summer will last on game day, but there was an effort made to patch things over.
While they didnt shoot their commercials together, Norman said Bryant reached out to him.
He had called me, so we were talking a little bit, Norman said. Now its kind of refreshing. Because before, Im sure all you guys know it wasnt like that.
Indeed. After the Redskins 31-26 loss on Thanksgiving, Bryant called Norman extremely soft and said Washington needs to get their money back, a reference to Normans five-year, $75 million contract. Norman said the post-game confrontation was trashy on Bryants part.
The Redskins get the Cowboys again on Thanksgiving this year in the second of their annual two-game series. Game one happens 4:25 p.m. Sunday at FedEx Field.
Norman needs to be cleared by doctors first. He was a limited participant in practice Thursday, telling reporters he felt good. Last week, Norman felt like he progressed to the point he could play but voiced frustration on Instagram that the medical team didnt clear him to return against the Philadelphia Eagles.
If Norman is given a green light, Redskins coach Jay Gruden said he expects the Bryant-Norman rivalry to be the same as previous years, despite the advertising campaign.
I dont think there is any doubt. ... I dont know Dez, but they seem like they are very similar, very fiery type guys, Gruden said. [They] want to win, want to produce, want to be in the limelight and make plays. They have both done that in their careers and its a great matchup always.
Statistically, Norman has fared well when matching up with Bryant. In their last meeting, according to Pro Football Focus, Bryant had just three receptions for 32 yards against Norman. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott threw Normans way just five times.
In four meetings, Bryant has four catches for 38 yards with 12 targets against Norman.
Lately, Bryant has faced questions about his production dealing with storylines about whether he is washed up. This year, Bryant has 327 yards on 28 receptions for four touchdowns.
Theres no drop off to me, Gruden said. I think a lot of people may look at his numbers and say there is some drop-off but the object of the game is to get in the end zone and he is still one of the best end zone targets there is in football, without a doubt.
Norman complimented Bryant, as well a change of course since calling him just a guy.
Hes a streaky guy, so when he catches one, hes going to rip off three, Norman said. Hes one of those guys that build up what he do. Hes a good player, man. A solid, solid player. Youve got to respect that.
For now, Norman described himself and Bryant as advertising buds.
Everything has been smooth, Norman said. I hope it stays that way. Who knows? Only Sunday can tell that.