- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Wide receiver Terrelle Pryor Sr., the Redskins newest weapon, has described himself as a bit of a hothead in the past. It’s something he’s working on so that it doesn’t impact his performance in games, he has said.

Well, Josh Norman should be able to help with that. Norman, Pryor’s new teammate and Washington’s star cornerback, has a well-known history of getting under receivers’ skin from his spats with Odell Beckham Jr. If Pryor wants a practice partner to test his limits, then Redskins drills just got a whole lot more interesting.

“I’m very excited because at the end of the day, iron sharpens iron,” Pryor said Monday, explaining why he’s excited to compete against Norman. “I’m not saying whether I’m on his level or I’m not saying anything like that. But what I do know is that he’s a competitor and I competed against him at a high level. He competed against me at a high level and he’s a very competitive guy, a very fiery guy.”

Pryor, of course, was mostly referring to the caliber of on-field competition Norman provides. Still, he knows his new teammate is an elite trash talker, too.

Norman shadowed Pryor in Washington’s Week 4 game in Cleveland last season, which the Redskins won 31-20. Even before they took the field, Pryor addressed the potential matchup with Norman.

“I’m 6-5, 230,” Pryor told reporters in Cleveland at the time. “I’m not worried about no corner talking about me. Period.”

For the first half of the game, Pryor was dominant. He caught all five passes thrown in his direction (though one was wiped out because the Browns accepted a defensive penalty on the play) and drew a defensive pass interference call on Norman, who struggled with Pryor’s physicality and ability to get separation at the top of his routes.

Pryor totalled 42 receiving yards in the first half, and also scored the first touchdown of his career. He reeled in a 9-yard pass from Cody Kessler at the end of a crossing route, having gotten a stride ahead of Norman, who also had help over the top.

Pryor got flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after celebrating his score with the LeBron James chalk toss.

In the second half, though, Norman got him back.

Pryor caught just one pass, for four yards. Norman shut him down, and sealed the game with an interception thrown in Pryor’s direction. Norman perfectly undercut Pryor’s slant route to snag the ball from Kessler, though, like Pryor, he got flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after celebrating. According to the very-specific game officials, it was for “shooting a bow and arrow,” an act Norman pantomimed following the play.

“I came back second half and went to a dark place,” Norman said after the game. “Went to one of those places that shut him down, locked him down. Feet in the ground and just play your game. Don’t worry about anything else. Coach called this, called that, execute flawlessly. And then I did. I saw the play coming. I knew it, going through the film, studying what he liked to do and as soon as I did, saw my moment and captured it.”

Nothing got out of hand between Norman and Pryor and they had a well-fought battle on the field. Now teammates, Pryor can be happy that they no longer have to duke it out when it actually counts.

“The opportunity to compete with somebody that wants to be great, I mean, I’ll take that every day,” Pryor said. “I’m very excited about that because I know he’s going to help me and I can help him because I’m going to compete my butt off. I think at the end of the day that’s what helps get your team better.”

If they do need something to bond over, Pryor and Norman have both had public tiffs with members of the New York Giants that exceeded any back-and-forth between the two of them.

Norman’s saga with Odell Beckham Jr. is well-known, but Pryor has also had a bit of drama with a member of his new division rival.

After the Browns lost to the Giants in Week 12, New York cornerback Janoris Jenkins tagged Pryor in a tweet telling him he “really sucks.” Jenkins threw in an expletive for good measure, and also tweeted that Pryor’s 131 yards in the game were a product of zone coverage (sick burn!).

Pryor took the high road: “You are a great corner. Solid defender! You played a solid game. God Bless !! Good luck rest of year,” he tweeted back.

So that’s that. Ultimately, if there’s a new layer of spectacle to Redskins practices, just think what the two division games against New York could be like.

• Nora Princiotti can be reached at nprinciotti@washingtontimes.com.

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