Landon Collins and Josh Norman have yet to even practice together, but the star-studded secondary duo has already shown signs to suggest they’ll get along quite well in Washington.
For proof, look no further than Norman’s annual Celebrity Basketball Game in Charlotte, N.C., on Saturday. The game featured several current and former NFL players, including Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens and veteran quarterback Josh McCown. Two of Norman’s former teammates -- Carolina Panthers Pro Bowlers Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly -- were also in attendance.
Then there was Collins -- less than a month removed from signing a lucrative multi-year deal with the Washington Redskins -- coaching a group of celebrities in Charlotte to support Norman and his Starz24 foundation, which partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to host the charitable event.
“First of all, as a person I know [Norman’s] a humble guy, always willing to give back. It’s an amazing thing, just want to change the world,” Collins told Redskins.com. “The event was amazing. He brought in kids, he bussed kids from the areas that he was from and had them come to the event and show them a different aspect of life and what kids can be and what they can achieve. It definitely helped and changed a lot of people’s lives.”
About three weeks before the event, Norman called Collins to inquire if the newly-signed Redskin would be interested in being a part of Norman’s latest philanthropic effort. At that point, Norman and Collins had only hung out a couple times, but Collins said he "always saw him around" because they are signed to the same agency. Plus, in a few months, the two defensive backs would be spending almost all of their time together preparing for the 2019 season.
Norman detailed his foundation’s mission -- which aims to “provide enrichment to children through community events and youth programs,” according to its website -- and explained what made the celebrity basketball game unique.
Collins was “all for it.”
“What I love about supporting a guy like Josh is because of the kind of player he is, the kind of guy he is, the kind of heart he has for this kind of thing.”
“Anything for my teammates,” Collins went on to explain. “I love to give back and help out and be a part of charity for kids, and try to change the world. It’s definitely a part of my life.”
Collins is still recovering from surgery he had in December to repair a torn labrum, so the three-time Pro Bowler did not play in Saturday’s contest. Instead, he served as one of the coaches, manning the sidelines with Newton for Team Boys & Girls Clubs of America, which defeated Norman’s squad by one point in overtime.
In talking to the media before the game, Norman and Collins took turns complimenting one another for their involvement with the event. Collins spoke to Norman’s humanitarianism and commitment to serving his community, while Norman called Collins a “class act” for being a part of this cause. Norman added their tenure with the Redskins was "already off to a great start."
They even filmed a short video together for social media, with Norman referring to Collins as his “brother” and encouraging Redskins fans to show one of the franchise's newest additions “all the love.” By the sound of it, Norman and Collins cannot wait to play alongside each other in 2019.
“Just coming out here to something like this shows his character,” Norman said. “It shows how he’s going to be this year as [a part of] the secondary, so it’s pretty awesome to have a guy like that to sure up what we have already.”
Added Collins: “I know I’ve got a good, talented cornerback outside and I can call on him to go above and beyond and make plays and make game-changing plays. He’s a playmaker. With that combination, I think it’s gonna be a great thing.”