It's been a long month and a half for Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman.
Unlike many of his teammates who are just starting to get back into the swing of things, the 30-year-old veteran, beginning his third year with Washington, has been grinding with partner Sharna Burgess since mid-April on "Dancing With The Stars."
With the show finishing last Monday, Norman was able to return to a normal offseason schedule and has a different mindset on the amount of work he puts in on the practice field.
"This is a cakewalk. It's like picking daisies," he said after the second day of OTAs.
Norman wasn't just practicing his dance moves these past few weeks. He understood the need to remain in pristine football shape throughout the duration of his time on the show, pushing himself to the highest standards. Of course, this is much easier said than done. Sleep came at a premium during his experience on the show.
"Think about it, I'm here for four to six hours and turn around to go there for six hours," Norman said. "You get home at 10:30 at night and start at 7:30 in the morning. That's what it takes to go out there and perform each and every Monday night."
When asked about how he balanced this tolling schedule in addition to football, Norman seemed to have a fresh perspective on the way he presents himself.
"I've been doing a lot of things that I don't normally do in the offseason," he said. "But just to come back, I've got a different mindset on a lot of things."
Here's photos from the Washington Redskins OTAs practice that took place Wednesday, May 23, 2018, at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park, presented by Loudoun Economic Development.
This different mindset for Norman has made him appreciate the work that the regulars on the show like Burgess put in every season.
"I don't think training camp is going to be harder than what I just went through," Norman said. "I was up 23-24 hours a day once a week. So take that into consideration. Think training camp got you like that?"
The around-the-clock schedule for Norman pushed him towards a new level of mental and physical awareness. The NFL schedule is never ending, and adding all the dance work is really a test to his character. This strong work ethic should excite Redskins fans for the upcoming season, as it reassures Norman is in for the long haul.
"I grew tremendously in both aspects [mental and physical] because I feel that you can't have one without the other," Norman said. "It went hand-in-hand. I just feel like I'm on an entirely different platform in terms of the mental aspects of what I can go through."
To hear these words from Norman just a few days after the end of the competition is important to recognize. Due to the practices being optional, Norman could have easily skipped OTAs entirely in order to recover until mandatory minicamp in mid-June. However, he realizes that this is the lifestyle he chose, and he owes it to his teammates to be there at practice in May.
Norman's strong work ethic was noticed throughout the Redskins organization. Head coach Jay Gruden can use Norman's story as a motivator for anyone on the roster, and was especially impressed with how his cornerback competed each week.
"I watched every episode of that, and the more I watched, the more impressed I was with his ability to learn that stuff because I know I have zero rhythm," Gruden said."I would be voted off the first episode. So I think the work ethic he put in, the work he put in to get ready for that show and then also fly back on redeyes and get here for practice or OTAs, I just really have a lot of admiration for what he did and what he accomplished, man, because that's not easy. I thought he should have won the dang thing. I think he got ripped off, to be honest with you."