Carolina Panthers

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones unfazed by Carolina’s Josh Norman

Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman (24) says he marked the game against the Atlanta Falcons on his calendar because of the matchup with wide receiver Julio Jones (11).
Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman (24) says he marked the game against the Atlanta Falcons on his calendar because of the matchup with wide receiver Julio Jones (11). dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Atlanta wide receiver Julio Jones might complete Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman, but the feeling doesn’t appear to be mutual for the NFL’s receiving leader.

Appearing on ESPN’s “Sunday NFL Countdown” two weeks ago, Norman borrowed a line from the movie “Jerry Maguire” when he said, “Julio completes me.”

With the Panthers and Falcons set to meet Sunday for the first of two games in a 15-day span, Norman’s quote naturally came up during Jones’ conference call with Charlotte reporters Wednesday.

Jones, Atlanta’s two-time Pro Bowler, said he hadn’t heard Norman say it, nor was he sure what he meant.

“I don’t know,” Jones said. “You’ve got to ask Josh Norman that.”

Norman, the Panthers’ ascendant fourth-year corner, said recently he circled the games with Dallas and Atlanta when the NFL schedule was announced because of his matchups with Dez Bryant and Jones.

“That’s on him as far as whatever he needs to get motivated or whatever. My motivation is to go out here and play for my teammates,” Jones said. “Last year is last year. This is a whole new year. If he’s looking forward for the matchup, it’s going to be a matchup.”

Norman blanketed Jones during the two games with Atlanta last season, limiting him to a total of 10 catches for 117 yards and no touchdowns.

Jones averaged 15.3 yards per catch in 2014, but his longest receptions against the Panthers went for 11 (in the first game) and 20 yards (in Carolina’s division-clinching win in Week 17).

Jones was complimentary of Norman, saying he plays with great energy and brings it every play.

But Jones, tops in the NFL with 102 catches for 1,338 yards, said he’s not going to make Sunday’s game in Charlotte about him and Norman.

“It doesn’t matter to me. Football is football,” Jones said. “I’m going to go out there and give all I’ve got regardless. It doesn’t matter who I’m playing.”

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