Scott Says

Welcome to ‘Josh Norman vs. the Panthers’ week – and fasten your seatbelt

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and cornerback Josh Norman, now with Washington, made their peace after this training-camp wrestling match in 2015.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and cornerback Josh Norman, now with Washington, made their peace after this training-camp wrestling match in 2015. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Welcome to the latest episode of “The Josh Norman Show” – also featuring Carolina vs. Washington.

The Panthers are about to face their former cornerback Josh Norman in their next game, and the hype will get kicked up about two notches since it will be on “Monday Night Football.”

Norman, you will remember, had a lights-out season for Carolina in 2015 while also getting into heated altercations with everyone from Cam Newton to Odell Beckham. The Panthers wanted to pay him big money – but not as much as he wanted – and so general manager Dave Gettleman then made the nearly unprecedented move in April of rescinding the franchise tag the Panthers had placed upon Norman.

Norman immediately signed a huge deal with Washington instead. He has generally played well for a Washington team that is 7-5-1 and on the playoff bubble after Sunday’s win against Philadelphia.

Newton and Norman made their peace after their training-camp wrestling match in 2015, which occurred after Norman intercepted a Newton pass and showboated with it on the return. Norman talked to me early this year in an interview for my book “Panthers Rising” about that day.

“Cam’s a good guy, but we didn’t really talk,” he said during that interview, referring to the duo’s relationship before their fight. “We had an admiring respect. A respect, like, a sniffing kind of respect. You know when two dogs sniff and they know what’s good and then they go their different ways? And don’t really play with each other? Like that. I just wanted to one-up him, and he just wanted to one-up me.”

They will try to one-up each other again next Monday night. When I asked Newton on Sunday about the upcoming battle against Norman, the quarterback wanted no part of it.

“It’s not a game about him vs. us,” Newton said. “We just need to win this game.”

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton spoke with the media following the team's 28-16 victory over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. Newton stressed the team must keep pushing to score.

▪ Panthers safety Tre Boston said he loved Norman and that reuniting with him Monday will be “brotherly love.” However, he qualified that by saying it would also be “like when you try to beat your little brother up.”

▪ Chad Knaus, the crew chief for all seven of Jimmie Johnson’s NASCAR titles, banged the Keep Pounding drum Sunday. I wonder if Knaus had his fabricators build a couple of big drums in the No. 48 shop, outfitting at least one in race trim, for some pregame practice.

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