Inside the Panthers

Ex-Panthers CB Josh Norman says ‘sticks and stones’ thrown his way after tag rescinded


It’s been nearly two weeks since the Carolina Panthers pulled the franchise tag on Josh Norman, and the Pro Bowl cornerback is still talking about his former employer.

In a column he wrote for The Players’ Tribune, Norman -- without mentioning anyone by name -- says there were “sticks and stones” thrown at him after the Panthers cut ties last month.

Norman, who signed a five-year, $75 million contract two days after the Panthers rescinded the tag, reiterated his preference was to stay with Carolina.

“Thing is, some people will never get over the name on my degree. One hit wonder. Greedy. Trash talker. I hear it all. I hear you,” Norman wrote. “What do you want me to say? Did I want to stay in Carolina? I did. One day you’re the hero, the next day they’re throwing sticks and stones. That’s the business. I get it. I got love for you, Carolina. Nothing but love.”

Norman had a career-high four interceptions (including two he returned for touchdowns) in 2015, and had the lowest passer rating against average in the league.

“For four years, I gave everything to the Carolina Panthers. I bled for that jersey. We reached some great heights together, all the way to the Super Bowl,” Norman said. “And to be honest with you, I thought my 2014 was better than my 2015. Watch the tape.”

The Panthers drafted cornerbacks with three consecutive picks last weekend as they looked to rebuild a secondary parted ways with Norman and veterans Cortland Finnegan, Charles Tillman and Roman Harper.

But only one of those guys is in the prime of his career. Norman said time will tell whether the Panthers made the right call by moving on after negotiations on a long-term contract went nowhere.

Talking about the business of the NFL, Norman said: “The business sent me to junior college. The business made me a fifth-rounder. The business cuts the average NFL player after three years. The Panthers made a business decision. Was it a good one? We will see.”