Brandon Phillips’ defense is overlooked no more

CINCINNATI — Brandon Phillips’ defense is overlooked no more. Phillips, the Reds second baseman, was named a recipient of a National League Gold Glove Award for defensive excellence on Wednesday. I’m surprised about things that have happened career, and this is one of them, Phillips said on a conference call with reporters. Being one of the best defensive second basemen the Leagues is a blessing. I work hard at it. For the second consecutive, Phillips led NL second basemen fielding percentage. He committed seven errors over Alonzo Gee Jersey 706 total chances. However, this is the 27-year-old’s first Gold Glove. both 2006 and ’07, the D-backs’ Orlando was the winner. Although he considers a friend, the slight angered Phillips. To tell you the truth, when I didn’t win it last year, it really hurt me a little bit, Phillips said. Then after that, I was like, ‘If I win one, I win one. If I don’t, it wouldn’t really bother me.’ But it’s different when you win one now. it Arron Afflalo Jersey feels great to finally get recognized and win the award. I think a lot of people are starting to recognize what type of player that I am. I play defense first before anything. Defense wins. It’s just a beautiful thing to finally win this award. I hope there are more to come. Displaying the fielding intangibles that often don’t appear statistics — range, athleticism — Phillips often executed some spectacular plays and made it easier for him to be noticed by the league’s managers and coaches that vote for the award.

Phillips was also a steady hand the field for a Reds team that ranked 14th out of 16 NL teams fielding percentage. From 10-July 8, Phillips held a 78-game errorless streak that was the second longest streak among second basemen this behind the 82-game streak by Pittsburgh’s Sanchez. I talked to him and boy, I’ve never heard a happier voice life, Reds manager Baker said. It was like he couldn’t believe it.

I couldn’t believe that he couldn’t believe it, because this has worked hard. He never sits down. He’s always working taking balls off the bat. He’s catching popups over his head, which I’ve never seen anyone do at practice. He practices like he plays, and it’s paid off. Last week, Phillips received Handbook’s Fielding Bible Award as the best defensive second basemen the Leagues. its Best Tools issue, Baseball rated Phillips the second-best NL second baseman — behind, a three-time Gold Glover that missed most of the past ‘s final two months with an injury. Phillips is the first Reds player to win a Rawlings Gold Glove since second baseman Pokey Reese 2000. That first Gold Glove is the hardest one, Baker said. I told him you just have to keep working and see how more you can get. As a hitter, Phillips batted.261 with 21 home runs, 78 RBIs and 23 stolen bases. He missed the final 17 of the with a broken right index finger. Wednesday’s announcement is the latest personal triumph for Phillips, who came to Cincinnati an 2006 trade from the Indians after his status as a prospect faded. The deal only cost the Reds a Minor League pitcher named Jeff Stevens. his first with the Reds, Phillips led the team hits and multi-hit and became a breakout star. a superb all-around 2007, he committed just eight errors and had a.990 fielding percentage. Offensively, he joined Alfonso Soriano as the only two second basemen history that produced at least 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases. February, Phillips signed a four-year, $27 million contract with a $12 million club option for 2012. This is more important than 30. Defense wins, Phillips said. A lot of players out there can do the 30 or 40 or be the MVP and never win the Gold Glove. I really think was the best thing that ever happened to me. I really take pride defense. It’s passion and I love doing it. is a reporter for. This story was not subject to the approval of League Baseball or its clubs.

It’s a pretty special feeling.

ANAHEIM — Trout’s first appearance on a League All- ballot is going pretty much the way you would expect it to: swimmingly. When the first American League update was released on Monday, Trout led all outfielders and ranked third total fan votes with 1,676. Only reigning Triple Crown winner Cabrera and Yankees second Mike Glennon Jersey baseman Robinson Cano had more. It’s pretty cool, Trout said. That’s awesome, to be up there with all the top guys.

It’s a pretty special feeling. Trout spent the first month of his historic rookie the Minors and Mike James Jersey didn’t appear on last year’s ballot, but was nonetheless selected as a reserve by his peers and became the 20th player to become All- before his 21st birthday. After a slow start to 2013, Trout scorched through, posting a 1 OPS while belting eight homers and four triples, putting his slash line at a more typical.294.545 for the. Albert Pujols and Hamilton are struggling, and need a voting push if they to be the starting lineup at Citi Field. Pujols, a nine-time All- who has missed the last two Midsummer Classics, ranks fourth voting among first basemen, trailing the Orioles’, the Tigers’ Fielder and the Red Sox’s Napoli. Hamilton, who has started each of the last five All- Games for the, ranks 10th among outfielders — more than 300 votes shy of Torii Hunter third place.

Trumbo leads the Angels homers and RBIs, but he’ll have a hard time making it into the lineup as the designated hitter. Red Sox slugger Ortiz leads that group with 1,283 votes, while Trumbo is about 700 votes behind, fourth place. Fans can cast their votes for starters at and all 30 club sites — online or via your mobile device — using the 2013 All- Game ballot until Thursday, July 4, at 11 p.m. ET. Fans submit 25 online ballots during the voting period, but can also earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots. To access these additional online ballots, you must be logged into your account when you submit any online ballot. If you do not have account, visit and register accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free one. Fans can also once again participate the Home Run Derby Fan Poll, where they’ll have the opportunity to select three players each league who they would most like to participate the Home Run Derby. The 2013 Home Run Derby — part of All- Workout Day — be broadcast live on, HD, Deportes and Radio the United States beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, July 15. The 2013 American League and National League All- teams be unveiled on, July 7, on the 2013 MLB All- Game Selection Show, televised nationally on TBS. Baseball fans around the world then be able to select the final player on each team via the All- Game Final Vote sponsored by on. The final phase of All- Game voting again have fans participating the official voting for the Ted All- Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by. During the Midsummer Classic, fans vote exclusively online at via the 2013 All- Game MVP Vote, and their voice represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Trophy. The 84th All- Game, played at Citi Field on July 16, be televised nationally by Sports, Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners more than 200 countries via MLB International’s independent feed. provide extensive online coverage of the All- Week festivities, while Radio and Radio Deportes provide national radio coverage of the All- Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM also also provide comprehensive All- Week coverage. For more information, please visit.

It should have been two free throws for Drummond and Pistons’ ball

You are correct your interpretation of the last-two-minute rule. As to why the foul question was not called intentional and off the ball, I couldn’t tell you. I thought it was both. did the . It its last-two-minutes officiating report, the reviewer Justin Britt Jersey noted the foul against Westbrook was called incorrectly. The notation read: Westbrook is correctly called for a foul on Drummond but away-from-the-play foul should be called. It should have been two free throws for Drummond and Pistons’ ball. there were two goofs on the play.

Westbrook didn’t have the proper awareness of the clock and foul situations. important, neither did K.J. Wright Jersey the officials. If Gundy did anything wrong, it wasn’t raising Cain about the clear officiating error. Q: Who do you think the Pistons match up better against a possible seven-game playoff series, the Cavaliers or the Toronto Raptors? And even if the Pistons do finish eighth place, there have been three cases where eighth seed defeated a one seed since the went to its best-of-seven opening-round playoff format 2003. there is historical evidence that opening-round upsets can and do happen the . I think the Pistons have a puncher’s against both. … But of the two, I think they might stand the better against the Cavaliers. What’s your take? Thank you, . Respectfully — AtomicAsphalt Q:. — A: , AA. AA, .

I lumped your related questions together because it’s clear that we’re only talking about a two-team debate the first round, and Toronto. There is no realistic possibility of another team crashing the top two the East and extremely little probability that the Pistons move any higher than the seventh seed. If the Pistons win the first round, I’d like them best against Boston of the potential second-round opponents. But that’s a bit far down the road. It’s easy to overthink this stuff sometimes. The Cavaliers haven’t been the same team since they fired Blatt.

They botched his entire situation, from hiring him when he shouldn’t have been, to firing him when he shouldn’t have been. The Cavs also went to the Finals with pretty much the same cast last year. Toronto got swept the first round by Washington. The Cavs have LeBron , Kyrie Irving, and a good cast of supporting characters. Toronto has a good cast and two All-Star guards whose names many general sports fans who ‘t follow the closely wouldn’t remember. Readers here know we’re talking Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, but folks who tune into the only after college basketball ends only had four playoff losses a year ago to commit those names to memory. Both teams favor a relatively grinding pace. Both allow fewer than 99 points per game. Gundy might not like pace statistics, but the Cavaliers and Raptors rank 28th and 29th, respectively, number of possessions per game. Call it pace, call it what you want, it’s the real, measurable number of possessions a team averages over a regular season. When postseason grinds into non-transition zones with even fewer possessions, it absolutely favors the more defense-oriented team accustomed to playing that way. Both are efficient offensive teams.

Getting to know Patriots rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett

The New England Patriots were forced to utilize third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett in the first half of Sunday’s Week 2 meeting with the Miami Dolphins. Backup Jimmy Garoppolo — starting for suspended Tom Brady — threw a trio of first-half touchdowns, but injured his shoulder late in the second quarter. The team announced at the start of the third quarter that Garoppolo would not return.

Brissett didn’t complete either of the two passes he threw after entering but got the Patriots to halftime with a 24-3 advantage. Here’s what you need to know about the rookie signal-caller:

“Well, it definitely sucks that this season came to an end so quickly, but I know God always has a plan for my life,” Woodhead said via his Instagram account. “Now it’s time to get healthy and rehab as hard as I ever have. Excited about what the future holds. Plus, I get more time with these three!”

Attorneys for the Vikings had labeled the signs a giant “photo bomb” of aerial images of the new $1.1 billion stadium. In June, U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank gave Wells Fargo 30 days to remove the elevated signs.

Vikings vice president Lester Bagley and a Wells Fargo spokesman both call the resolution “in the best interests of both parties.”

In April, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said McCoy wouldn’t be criminally charged in the incident, concluding that he couldn’t prove who initiated the fight. Williams said at the time that it’s legal to act in self-defense or the defense of others.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office subsequently decided to review Williams’ decision not to charge McCoy, at the request of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police.

In a July letter to the FOP, Bruce Castor, then the solicitor general of Pennsylvania in charge of the McCoy probe, wrote: “I would have to not only disagree with the decision of DA Williams, but would have to conclude that his decision was so far off the mark as to be abusing the authority given him by the voters of Philadelphia. Applying that standard, I cannot say that I find DA Williams abused his discretion.”

Ben Roethlisberger says Tom Brady atop NFL’s QB hierarchy

PITTSBURGH — Ben Roethlisberger isn’t giving himself the top spot in the NFL’s quarterback hierarchy.

That spot belongs to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who starts the season on a four-game suspension over Deflategate.

The Patriots and Steelers reunite in Week 7 in Pittsburgh.

In 2015, Roethlisberger led all NFL quarterbacks with 328 passing yards per game and spearheaded the offense’s six-game streak of 30 or more points. As a result, the Steelers are a trendy Super Bowl pick in 2016.

Roethlisberger is more worried about beating the Washington Redskins’ pass coverage on Monday Night Football.

“I’m a big fan of being the hunter and not the hunted,” Roethlisberger said.

The NFL said in a statement that Ninkovich is eligible to return from his suspension, which is without pay, on Monday, Oct. 3.

Ninkovich told ESPN on Friday that he is devastated and shocked, and said he would never knowingly take an illegal substance.

Kaepernick also said Thursday that he plans to donate $1 million to organizations that will help communities in need.

The 49ers had previously released a statement on Kaepernick’s actions, saying, “In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose to participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”

“He could have been the MVP in the league last year if he would have stayed healthy,” Bradshaw told the team’s website. “I am not saying this because I am a Steeler and trying to suck up to anybody. I am just telling you he is special, different. I’ll take Roethlisberger over any of those guys.”

Browns trade punter Andy Lee to Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns swapped punters.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Panthers acquired veteran Andy Lee from the Browns, according to a source with knowledge of the deal.

The team later confirmed the deal.

Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Boyd, wide receiver. For the Bengals, much of Dalton’s success will depend on how three pass catchers — veterans Brandon LaFell and Brandon Tate, as well as the rookie Boyd — make up for the loss of Jones and Sanu. This is especially critical with tight end Tyler Eifert (ankle) not expected back until Week 4 at the earliest.

Cleveland Browns: Corey Coleman, wide receiver. The rookie has dazzling potential and could make waves in 2016 alongside Josh Gordon and Terrelle Pryor. Still, there are so many new faces in Cleveland, it’s impossible to pick just one. On defense, keep an eye on high-motor pass rusher Carl Nassib, another promising first-year player. The offensive line, though, could be this squad’s fierce undoing.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Ryan Shazier, inside linebacker. A healthy Steelers offense can still blister teams with yardage and points, but let’s focus on defense: Shazier needs to pick up where he left off last season, playing the best football of his young career alongside fellow inside ‘backer Lawrence Timmons. With Pittsburgh’s secondary still a major question, Shazier is the most important figure on this side of the ball.

The deal ends one of the more nettlesome and controversial rookie holdouts in recent league history after Bosa, the former Ohio State star, and the team were deadlocked on how guarantees in his contract would be distributed.

The nitty-gritty details have yet to be announced, but NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Bosa inked a four-year, $25.8 million deal, per a source. The fully guaranteed pact comes with a $17 million signing bonus, per Rapoport, the largest upfront bonus installment in Chargers history for a veteran or rookie.

“I am very relieved. I knew it was going to get done. I was just surprised how long it took,” Bosa told reporters Monday. “I really left it mostly to my agents. That’s why I trust them. We just wanted what’s fair and what people in my position have gotten through the last five, six years. We came to a fair deal. There’s no animosity between any of us, me towards them or them towards me.”

“We look forward to having Joey join us and getting him prepared as quickly as possible for the 2016 season,” Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said in a statement released by the club — a statement far less incendiary than the contentious, detail-filled missive the Bolts released a week ago describing their dealings with the rookie.

The late-August signing leaves Bosa under the gun to develop in a hurry. After missing all of training camp and three preseason games, the third-overall pick is no guarantee to make an immediate impact in San Diego.

“Of course I’d loved to be out here with my teammates. NFL is a business and like I said I’m happy it’s over with,” said Bosa.
“We’ll see when he’s ready to go. We’re not going to put a timetable on it,” head coach Mike McCoy told reporters Monday. “We’ll get him up to speed as quickly as we can. … It’s a matter of just getting used to playing in pads with his teammates.”

Victor Cruz doesn’t need to prove anything to his Giants teammates

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — If Victor Cruz’s return to the field Saturday proves to be a dud and comes with zero catches for zero yards and several drops, it won’t mean much to Odell Beckham Jr. The New York Giants’ star wide receiver isn’t worried about what Cruz does in the preseason.

Beckham doesn’t need any convincing to prove that Cruz can help the team this season. He has said on several occasions that the only date that matters is Sept. 11 — the day the Giants open their season on the road against the Dallas Cowboys.

And while the Giants and fans want a clearer idea of what Cruz can do on the field after almost two full seasons on the sideline, his teammates don’t seem to care much. They seem convinced — almost to a man — the return of the old Victor Cruz will happen. It’s only a matter of when.

“He doesn’t need to prove anything to me,” running back Rashad Jennings said.

Cruz, 29, was a Pro Bowl receiver. He has two 1,000-yard seasons and a Super Bowl touchdown catch and ring on his resume, but suffered a serious, season-ending knee injury early in 2014 and missed all of 2015 with a calf injury. Cruz also struggled this summer with a groin injury.

It doesn’t seem to matter. The way undrafted rookie cornerback Donte Deayon sees it, Cruz is a “somewhat of a legend.” It’s a sentiment shared by many of the younger players in the locker room who look up to Cruz and his salsa-dancing superstardom. They’re used to seeing No. 80 making defensive backs look foolish.

It’s not as important to his teammates. They’ve remained patient, and are willing to stay that way through the start of the regular season, if need be.

“You tell him to just pace himself,” Harris said. “We have a lot of time until Sept. 11. We have 16 games. You don’t want to poop out the first half of the season and not be able to play the second half of the season when we really need you. If you miss a couple games, it’s cool.

“We have a whole lot of games after that. I tell him every day, ‘Keep your head up. Stay focused. Take your time getting back.'”

As if two years wasn’t enough already, Cruz’s teammates are willing to wait longer if necessary. Fatigue? What fatigue?

Thankfully, they’ll receive a sneak peek on Saturday and, in their eyes, how it unfolds doesn’t really matter. As long as Cruz comes out of it healthy.

It was the first place where Bill Parcells truly tested Romo to see whether he had the mettle to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. It was only a preseason game on Aug. 12, 2006, but Romo not only started the game against the Seattle Seahawks but went the distance.

He completed 19 of 25 passes for 235 yards and a 9-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Crayton in the Dallas Cowboys’ 13-3 win.

A little more than two months later and with the Cowboys sitting at 3-3, Parcells replaced Drew Bledsoe with Romo.

Romo-mentum and Romo-mania were born. Romo has become the franchise leader in touchdown passes, been selected to four Pro Bowls and been the reason the Cowboys have been in contention when he has started and finished a season.

But things changed on Jan. 6, 2007.

That’s the night a potentially game-winning field goal attempt slipped through Romo’s hands on the snap. The Cowboys lost 21-20, and it was the last game Parcells coached.

Multiple teams inquire about availability of Josh Gordon

Multiple teams have reached out to the Cleveland Browns to inquire about the availability of wide receiver Josh Gordon, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

However, a Browns team source told Schefter that the team is not looking to trade Gordon.

Gordon said Tuesday that he doesn’t want to be traded.

“I haven’t heard too much about it,” Gordon said. “Cleveland is my team. That’s where I want to be, everything like that. That’s not even in the ballpark for me. I’m not sure how that works.”

Cleveland has tried to establish an environment in which Gordon could thrive, and many around the league believe first-year head coach Hue Jackson is the right coach for him.

“I think it works out perfectly then for me,” he said. “Mr. [Jimmy] Haslam, the organization, Coach Jackson, I think the world of those guys, this city, this organization. They’re showing me the love and respect back to me by allowing me to stay here up to this point.

“I expect to move forward with that. I’m excited about it. This is where I want to be and I’m happy to be with Cleveland.”

Gordon took part in three series with the Browns’ starters in Sunday’s practice.

Gordon, 25, is suspended for the first four games to start the regular season, but the NFL is allowing him to participate in team activities during the ban.

Jackson said he wants to be sure that Gordon will be ready to face the New England Patriots in Week 5 on Oct. 9, the same game Tom Brady returns from a four-game suspension.

Gordon led the NFL with 1,646 receiving yards in the 2013 season but was suspended for 27 of the next 32 games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He has 161 receptions for 2,754 yards and 14 touchdowns in 35 career games, all with the Browns.

Record crowd greets Rams back … for a horrible start

The Rams claimed they expected about 90,000 fans (they ended up with 89,140) and that would make it the largest crowd for a preseason game in U.S. history, and that technically appears correct. A crowd of 112,376 attended a preseason game between the Cowboys and Houston Texans in 1994, but that was in Mexico City. There were 105,840 fans on hand for an exhibition game between the Chicago Bears and a college all-star team in 1947, but that’s not an NFL preseason game. So the Rams’ statement holds. The combination of the first game back in L.A., the Cowboys being a marquee opponent and the size of the Coliseum gave the Rams a shot to break the record.

There shouldn’t have been much concern that the Rams would draw a lot of interest right away (and they will again in 2019 when their grand new stadium opens in Inglewood), but still had to be nice for the Rams to see such a huge turnout for a game that didn’t count.

The calm before the storm #DALvsLA
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) August 13, 2016

The NFL has a long history in Los Angeles, it had just been a while since it could add to it.

The last time NFL football was played in Los Angeles was Dec. 24, 1994. The Rams played the Washington Redskins in Anaheim, while the Raiders took on the Kansas City Chiefs at the Coliseum.

The Rams lost 24-21. Heath Shuler’s third-quarter held up for the Redskins. Chris Miller threw for 303 yards for the Rams in a losing cause. The Raiders lost too, 19-9 against their division rival which started Joe Montana at quarterback. Former Raider Marcus Allen rushed for 132 yards for Kansas City.

It was a long, long awaited return to the Coliseum for the Rams. The Rams played their home games at the Coliseum from 1946 to 1979 before moving to Orange County. As Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News pointed out, the Rams’ last home game at the Coliseum before Saturday came when Magic Johnson was a rookie for the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Rams got a chance to reacquaint themselves with the old Coliseum after a long, long time away. After more than two decades, the people of Los Angeles finally had a home team to root for again. And look at it this way: It can only go uphill from that terrible start to preseason game No. 1.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — To borrow from Bill Parcells’ famous maxim that you are what your record is, players are what their production is.

Before they have much of an on-field resume, they can also be what their public persona is.

In the case of Tennessee Titans rookie running back Derrick Henry, his preseason debut Saturday night started a shift from persona to production. And that’s a big thing.

The second-round pick out of Alabama regularly smiles and laughs with his teammates. But in front of cameras and notebooks, he’s been regarded as somewhat sour in his first few months with the team, particularly when the line of questioning hasn’t qualified as fawning.

That’s irrelevant if he’s running well, and he ran great against the Chargers in the Titans preseason opener.

“I like him even more now,” Mike Mularkey said when Henry’s public personality is mentioned and how the group of reporters asking the questions might have a big hand in it. “No, we’ve got some quiet guys. Tajae Sharpe doesn’t say a whole lot, Derrick doesn’t say a whole lot, Jack Conklin.

Osweiler doesn’t get why Elway doesn’t get why Osweiler wanted to finish Week 17

And thus, we’ve arrived at the main issue here — at least how I perceive it. The issue isn’t that Osweiler was benched, it’s that he was benched on the eve of a Super Bowl run. This even though he probably deserved the chance to lead the team to the Super Bowl because he was actually the better quarterback last year, statistically speaking. The competitor in Osweiler, I’m guessing, looked at Manning and his noodle arm and knew that he was better at that point in time.

If Osweiler had won the Super Bowl for the Broncos, the questions that followed him to Houston this offseason wouldn’t exist, at least not in the same magnitude. Talking heads wouldn’t be talking about his inexperience, they’d be citing his Super Bowl run. Winning a ring in the NFL as a quarterback might be the only way to gain immunity from criticism.

Furthermore, if Osweiler had played and won the Super Bowl, he’d probably still be in Denver. When Osweiler departed, a report emerged that said he wasn’t interested in playing in Manning’s shadow. That wouldn’t have concerned Osweiler had he led the Broncos to a title with Manning sitting on the bench.

Obviously, Elway has no reason to regret the Broncos decision to play Manning. It didn’t cost them a ring and it provided Manning with the perfect sendoff. But it’s a little surprising to hear Elway say he was surprised by Osweiler’s reaction, which is why Osweiler’s response seemed to be also steeped in surprise.

Josh Norman takes on all comers. And he’s not just taking the field for the Washington Redskins, this new team, this season. He’s adding television to his curriculum vitae.

Per The MMQB’s Emily Kaplan, Norman will be a regular contributor on Fox’s NFL coverage. His one-year contract states he’ll have a minimum of 10 appearances this season. Most of the sessions will be done from his home in Virginia, although Norman will travel to the Fox studios during the Redskins’ Week 9 bye in the first week of November.

Eat your heart out, Brandon Marshall.

Norman watched Marshall earn two sports Emmy nominations with Showtime as an analyst on “Inside the NFL,” and the ever-competitive Redskins cornerback told friends he wanted to double Marshall’s nominations with four.

Oh, and Norman — one of the more outspoken and bold players in the NFL — agreed to do it without his coaches knowing about it … although they likely are aware of it by now.

“I haven’t told Coach [Jay] Gruden or [defensive coordinator Joe] Barry yet, but I’ll give them a nice shout out on TV,” Norman says. “It’s not at all going to be a distraction. If you keep your focus on you and not anybody else, you’re going to be fine. I’m going to be me on Sunday.”

The Redskins pounced on Norman, 28, who was named the Carolina Panthers’ franchise player this offseason — and then summarily made a free agent when the Panthers rescinded Norman’s tag, getting nothing in return for him.