Battle Between Dez Bryant and Josh Norman Escalates


At the end of the afternoon in Dallas on Thursday, one thing was perfectly clear, Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant and Redskins cornerback Josh Norman would not be sitting down for a Thanksgiving meal together.

Bryant and Norman went at it repeatedly during the game, and things escalated afterward when the two nearly came to blows in a postgame huddle. It only got more heated in the media after the game, when Bryant repeatedly called out Norman. The Dallas wideout then took it to social media, where he said he’d use film footage to expose the All-Pro corner throughout the coming week.

The war of words between Norman and Bryant ironically dates back to last Thanksgiving, when the Carolina Panthers picked apart a reeling Cowboys team and Norman blanketed Bryant. Dez came away with two catches for 26 yards on eight targets. After that game, an unprompted Norman told the media “Hey, they need to get Dez’s 70 mil back,” referring to the lucrative contract Bryant signed before the 2015 season, the most disappointing of his career to date.

Bryant’s statistics weren’t that much better on Thursday. He caught five of seven targets for 72 yards without a touchdown. He now has 12 catches on 19 targets for 174 yards against Washington in Dallas’ two wins over the Redskins this season. But a lot of that work has been done against other Washington corners. On Thursday, he had just three catches for 32 yards when covered by Norman. The Redskins defender spouted off about Bryant’s numbers against him after the game.

“I played him three or four times now,” Norman said. “And those times, I don’t think he broke 30 yards, or had any significance of any kind in the game. Definitely didn’t have a touchdown. So, out of those three games, you would think that a guy of that magnitude, of that kind of big standards, would do more than that. But at the end of the day, I will let him speak for himself. If he feels like he wants to have that, then go play with the kids on the playground.”

But it appeared on Thursday like Dez could’ve had a whole lot more on Norman with just a little help from his quarterback. Replays showed Bryant repeatedly beating Norman and getting open, only for Dak Prescott to go elsewhere with the ball. One particularly nasty double move left Norman shaken and Bryant wide open for what would have been a walk-in touchdown, if only Prescott had seen Bryant.

Dez promises there is more where that came from and said he’ll post it to social media this week. And of course the first thing out of Bryant’s mouth as he exited the field was a reply to Norman’s taunt from a year ago.

“First off, Washington needs to get their money back from Josh Norman,” he quipped.

The two also scuffled repeatedly on the field. Bryant seemed to take issue with one play in particular where, after a catch over the middle, Dez dove to the ground to try to get extra yardage, absorbed a hit from Donte Whitner and then had Norman come in, grab Bryant’s leg and twist it while he was already down on the turf.

“I didn’t make it personal,” Bryant said. “I was just going to come out and do my job and that’s exactly what I did. He wanted to bump and me and him got to bumping a little bit and it just made me attack him even more. I honestly feel like the guy is extremely soft. He’s a bunch of talk.”

The two met one more time after the game. Norman claims that he was in the middle of looking for Prescott to congratulate and Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick to apologize for an incident between the two when Bryant bumped him and got in his face.

“Don’t step to someone when the game is over like that when they’re not even looking for you, or even having a conversation with you,” Norman said. “They won the game, so you have to tip your hats off to them. But I don’t do trash, and that was trashy on his behalf.”

The two nearly came to blows before being separated.

Each player also made reference to what they might do to each other should such an incident have taken place off the field, with Norman noting “Where I come from, we unload the clip,” and Bryant saying “If he was out and about, I wouldn’t dare on my life let him talk to me like that. Those words would never come out of his mouth. I promise. I promise it wouldn’t.”

That part of the squabble may have crossed a line, and both players should hear from the league about it, with potential fines coming down. There’s really no place in the game for players to be talking about escalating things into off the field violence.

But the rest of it was highly entertaining and made for a tasty desert on top of what was a fun game between two bitter rivals. Now all we can do is hope that these two teams find each other one more time this season, in January. As things stand right now, the Redskins hold the second Wild Card, which could set up a divisional round game against a top-seeded Dallas team, should things play out that way and if the Washington could then make it out of the first round. That would be a treat.

But until then, we’ll just have to keep our eyes on Bryant’s social media accounts to see how much further this thing escalates over the coming week.

About Devon Jeffreys

Devon Jeffreys