ASHBURN, Va. -- Cornerback Josh Norman once cashed in on his rivalry with Dez Bryant. That doesn't mean he will miss facing the wide receiver Sunday when the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys cut Bryant in the offseason, and he remains unsigned. So instead of a Norman vs. Bryant storyline dominating the week, it's simply about the game -- and that's fine with the cornerback.
"I get a little sigh of relief from all the chatter and can have a quiet game. It's nice," Norman said Thursday.
Their rivalry began three years ago, when Norman played for the Carolina Panthers and held Bryant to two catches for 26 yards on Thanksgiving. Afterward, Norman fired the first volley.
"Hey, they need to get Dez's 70 mil back," Norman told reporters.
When Norman signed with Washington during the 2016 offseason, it meant he would face Bryant twice a year in the NFC East and that the matchup would be a storyline each time.
Their second meeting in 2016 contained fireworks as well, with the two getting in each other's face during the game; they had to be separated on the field afterward. Bryant caught five passes for 72 yards in the game but had just two catches for 19 yards against Norman, who covered the receiver everywhere but in the slot.
Bryant said after the game, "I honestly feel like the guy is extremely soft. He's a bunch of talk. If he was out and about, I wouldn't dare on my life let him talk to me like that."
To which Norman replied, "It's like I'm trash and he beat me all day. I just don't get it. Like I said, if that boosts his ego or feeds his fuel or whatever he's got in his head, so be it. But we've played the game three times already, and my numbers speak for themselves. He can go cry, holler, hoot, whatever he wants to do. At the end of the day, like I said, zero touchdowns."
They cashed in on their rivalry in 2017, making a commercial for Samsung Galaxy and poking fun at the other. But the on-field tension simmered. Now it's gone.
"I don't miss it at all," Norman said Thursday. "It's a relief, if anything. I think the media moreso misses it than we do, just leading up to it and all the antics that come along with it."
But Norman couldn't help poke the Cowboys a little bit. UFC fighter Conor McGregor attended Dallas' 40-7 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and was on the sideline before the game and even participated in a pregame huddle with some players, trying to get them fired up. When Norman was asked Thursday who he would bring in to get Washington hyped, he had a quick reply.
"It wouldn't be him. It would be the guy that beat him," Norman said, referring to Khabib Nurmagomedov. "I don't understand why they got him. I'm just saying. If I can call that guy, he can come back over to the States. I would definitely bring him here for that match."