Rich Eisen cut right to the chase during his interview with Josh Norman on Wednesday, asking what many have been wondering since video of the Washington Redskins cornerback jumping over a bull in Pamplona, Spain, made the rounds last week.
“What the hell were you thinking?” he asked.
“Uh, you know, just tackling a challenge that most wouldn’t,” Norman replied nonchalantly on Eisen’s eponymous show before opening up about his latest offseason adventure.
“Every year you’ve got to evolve yourself into something else,” continued the 31-year-old Norman, never one to spend his offseason relaxing on a beach. “This year we went a little bit above that and went world class. For me, though, it’s literally like, would you rather live and die, or would you rather die and never lived?”
Images on social media of Norman running through the streets of Pamplona during the annual San Fermín festival and later jumping over a bull twice in an arena led some to question whether his contract permitted such risky behavior and whether he was putting himself before the team. Norman downplayed those concerns.
“You can just go outside your front door and get in the car and something happens to you, an accident happens,” Norman said. “You were safe. You can even go out there and be in practice and be on the football field and tear an ACL. You were safe. I can go out there and run with the bulls and I do something exciting and something that brings out the best in me in my life, in my world, and I win at that, I become victorious at that, and it’s an issue. I don’t understand it. Because it’s something I feel like I’m doing that’s bringing peace and bringing joy to me, and I’m excited. [Did I] weigh the risks? Of course. I never would’ve done it if I didn’t.”
Eisen asked Norman whether he had heard from the Redskins, who made him the league’s highest-paid corner when they signed him to a five-year, $75 million deal in 2016. Norman said he had but that the team said “nothing.”
“I think you got to know your personnel,” Norman said. “Knowing that that person loves that type of stuff and knowing that he won’t put himself in jeopardy enough to put the team in jeopardy.”
Describing what it was like to jump over a bull, Norman said he felt like “somebody else took control” of his body and he “became like a modern-day kind of gladiator.”
“Some people were getting just smashed by the bull,” he said. “Everyone was running up and circling and going to touch it and get in his way. Why not take it up a notch and just jump over it? . . . It came directly at me, so I charged back at it. I was like, ‘Hey, who’s going to win, big fella?’ I knew I was going to clear it. I just made sure, when I got down, that it was a pretty clean landing.”
Norman, who has driven race cars, gone skydiving and flown with the Blue Angels, described running with the bulls as “by far the most craziest, scariest, funnest thing” he’s ever done. He also acquired a new nickname: El Saltador, which translates to “The Jumper.”
“When I jumped it the first time, everybody started cheering and yelling, and I was like, ‘Okay, that’s pretty cool,’” Norman said. “The second day, I did it again and they stopped the music and everything, and they just started yelling [El Saltador] in the stands. . . . I’m like a hero in Spain almost.”
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