Josh Norman and Odell Beckham Jr. couldn’t stop trading barbs last year and throughout the offseason. So when Norman signed with Washington in free agency, his two games against the Giants and OBJ were circled on most football fans’ calendars. But now, just days away from their first rematch, they both seem to be singing a different tune.
Norman was asked Wednesday about his on-field altercation with Beckham last season, which climaxed when he threw the Giants wideout to the ground for no discernible reason during a pass play. Now, he says he’s moved on.
"He's a good player. He's a really good player. No hate whatsoever, man," Norman said, via NFL.com. "The guy can play ball. I think the competitor in me likes that. Just a challenge to get up for that. He's a good player."
Beckham, for his part, also said he has no feelings about seeing Norman for the first time since their melee. "Honestly, there really is a bigger concern. Division game, 2-0 start to the year. Really focused on going 3-0," he said, via Giants.com. "Wherever I go, wherever I lineup, that’s my job. The same way it would be whoever’s job it is to stop me. My job is to win over there. The biggest concern is winning, winning this game."
Those words are strikingly different than what Beckham and Norman were saying about each other just a couple of months ago. In a July interview with GQ, Beckham kept up the trash talk. "The reason he’s become relevant is because of me," he said. Norman responded by saying Beckham is only relevant "because of a catch," an allusion to OBJ’s sensational one-handed touchdown grab on Sunday Night Football two years ago.
Just last week, some of Beckham’s teammates were belittling Norman for not covering Steelers No. 1 wideout Antonio Brown in Washington’s season opener. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins said Norman should’ve been on Brown all game — regardless of the game plan. Cruz suggested Norman ducked Brown and dared him to cover OBJ when the two teams match up.
But now, the tone between Beckham and Norman is tame. It appears as if the rigors of a new season have caused the two rivals to turn their attention elsewhere. Given the divisional implications of Sunday’s contest, that may be the wise move to make — even if it makes it less fun for all of us.