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Josh Norman Signs Panthers Practice-Squad Contract After Jaycee Horn's Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVDecember 26, 2022

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 22: Josh Norman #26 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on as he lines up against the Green Bay Packers during an NFL divisional playoff football game at Lambeau Field on January 22, 2022 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The 49ers won 13-10. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
Michael Owens/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers signed veteran cornerback Josh Norman to a practice-squad contract ahead of Sunday's pivotal NFC South showdown against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"I want to not just go to the playoffs, but go on a deep run," Norman said, via Darin Gantt of the team's official website.

Joe Person of The Athletic initially reported the two sides had been discussing a possible reunion.

Norman started his career in Carolina and spent four seasons with the team. He last played for the San Francisco 49ers in 2021.

The talks with Norman came after cornerback Jaycee Horn suffered a wrist injury that will require surgery, per head coach Steve Wilks.

"He is excited about the opportunity to play again," Wilks said of Norman. "Hopefully he can spark us."

The Panthers are in need of cornerback help as they look to close their one-game gap on the Buccaneers for first place in the NFC South. At such a late juncture of the season, there aren't many options at Carolina's disposal.

Norman was an All-Pro in 2015, which precipitated his trade to Washington after he engaged in a contract standoff with the Panthers. His success that year has been an outlier in his NFL career.

In 15 appearances last season, the 35-year-old had 49 tackles, one interception and five pass breakups. According to Pro Football Reference, opposing quarterbacks had a 110.6 passer rating when targeting him through the air.

While not an ideal solution, Norman clearly addresses a personnel concern for Carolina. He has experience playing under Wilks, who was the defensive backs coach during his first run with the franchise from 2010-15.

Joe Person @josephperson

Steve Wilks says Josh Norman understands the Panthers' "DNA."<br>Says he wouldn't expect Norman to play every snap this week against Tampa Bay. But Wilks believes Norman can give them some reps vs Tom Brady.

Assuming Horn is unavailable, Wilks indicated Keith Taylor Jr. would start at cornerback Sunday at the Buccaneers, with Norman expected to get some reps as well.