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Josh Norman Comments on Super Bowl 50 Loss, Peyton Manning and More

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 8, 2016

Feb 7, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman (24) reacts on the bench after the game against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium. The Broncos won 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

A somber Josh Norman spoke to reporters after his team's 24-10 loss to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday night, cryptically repeating, "It's hard to play two teams," while also praising Peyton Manning and talking about his disappointment in the loss.  

“I’m having a hard time sitting here,” the Carolina Panthers star cornerback said, per Eric Prisbell of USA Today. “I’m going to be straight-up honest. I didn’t even want to talk to you guys.”

CBS cameras caught a visibly emotional Norman burying his face in his hands after the game as the Broncos poured onto the field in celebration, per Bleacher Report:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

VIDEO: Panthers’ Josh Norman breaks down on sideline after Broncos win Super Bowl https://t.co/zJ4J9W1t5J https://t.co/rhQzTM7A7u

Meanwhile, Norman repeatedly said it was hard to play "two teams," though he didn't elaborate on his meaning. Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com speculated that Norman was criticizing the referees, while Prisbell suspected he was speaking about the Denver defense completely stifling Carolina's offense. 

“The defense played spectacular,” Norman said. “The offense played good enough… It’s just hard playing two teams. It really is, gosh.”

Norman, 28, also took time to praise Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, whom he spoke to briefly late in the game, telling Manning he was one of the greatest players of all time, per Prisbell: “He will go down as one of the best. Just happy to be in the same game. We were trying to spoil it so bad. Much respect for him. He got the biggest one of all.”

Norman, who is a free agent this offseason, didn't just focus on the loss, however, but he also looked ahead to what the Panthers might be able to accomplish next.

"Keep pounding man," he said, per Rosenthal. "Just make us stronger for next year and years after that and just continue to push through everything and beat obstacles. Because this is going to set in for quite some time. This is (Super Bowl) 50. The biggest one yet... It just sucks to be on the other side of the stick, man."

Retaining Norman will be a big priority for the Panthers, after he emerged as one of the league's most stifling cornerbacks this season, notching 56 tackles, four interceptions (two returned for touchdowns) and three forced fumbles during the regular season.

He'll be one of the top free agents on the market if the Panthers fail to re-sign him before free agency opens, though the allure of returning to the team and competing for Super Bowls in the future may be tough to pass up. If his postgame comments were any indication, Norman is already itching at the chance to return to the Super Bowl and earn a title.

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