The Washington Post

Josh Norman sheds the sequins for shoulder pads at Redskins OTAs.

After his second-place ‘Dancing With the Stars’ experience, Norman is ready for OTAs

- BY KIMBERLEY A. MARTIN kimberley.martin@washpost.com

Josh Norman is back to wearing shirts full time. After flaunting his abdominal muscles for the “Dancing With the Stars” crowd the past month, the Washington Redskins cornerback’s only costume now is shorts and his burgundy No. 24 jersey. At the conclusion of the Redskins’ second session of organized team activities, Norman acknowledg­ed his bare-chested gyrations are a thing of the past.

But they did serve a muchneeded purpose, he said.

“You’ve got to get the votes. Whatever gets you the votes, ya know?” he said, playfully. “You’ve got to do what the people would like. And there were a lot of cougars that liked the shirts off.”

Giving the people what they wanted was the easy part. Norman and his profession­al dance partner, Sharna Burgess, finished second to Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon and Jenna Johnson. However, juggling his football responsibi­lities with his desire to cut a rug for TV audiences was more challengin­g than he anticipate­d. Norman rehearsed 12 hours each week with Burgess in Los Angeles before taking cross-country, red-eye flights to ensure he would be in Ashburn in time to participat­e in Washington’s offseason program.

But those four weeks of perfecting dance routines taught him a valuable lesson about himself and provided perspectiv­e on life in the NFL.

“This is a cakewalk,” he said of playing football. “This is like picking daisies.”

As he and his teammates walked off the indoor practice field Wednesday, Norman insisted that his mind-set is different now. So is his mental toughness.

“I can go further now than I thought,” he said, “I could push myself to pretty much a new level, a new height.”

Things that once seemed hard no longer feel as daunting, Norman said, adding, “I grew tremendous­ly. I wouldn’t have wanted anything else from it than that.”

The star cornerback did lament finishing as the runner-up in the popular dancing competitio­n. But in the end, he had the full support of his teammates and head coach.

“I watched every episode of that, and the more I watched, the more impressed I was with his ability to learn that stuff because I know I have zero rhythm,” joked Coach Jay Gruden, who praised Norman’s work ethic, both on the field and on the dance floor. “I would be voted off the first episode.

“The work ethic he put in, the work he put in to get ready for that show and then also fly back on red-eyes and get here for practice or OTAs, I just really have a lot of admiration for what he did and what he accomplish­ed, man, because that’s not easy. I thought he should have won the dang thing. I think he got ripped off, to be honest with you.”

Note: The Redskins announced they will hold training camp in Richmond beginning July 26.

Sessions held at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center will conclude with three days of joint practices with the New York Jets (Aug. 1214).

The Redskins’ training camp schedule features 25 open sessions for fans, including a Fan Appreciati­on Day on Saturday, Aug. 4.

Admission is free for all fans, and online registrati­on will open in early June, according to a release from the team.

 ?? NICK WASS/ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? For a few weeks, cornerback Josh Norman just might have been more recognizab­le without a shirt.
NICK WASS/ASSOCIATED PRESS For a few weeks, cornerback Josh Norman just might have been more recognizab­le without a shirt.

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