Redskins' Josh Norman calls out 'No. 88' field judge Brad Freeman

ByJohn Keim ESPN logo
Monday, October 31, 2016

LONDON -- Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman unloaded on the officiating crew after Sunday's 27-27 tie with the Cincinnati Bengals, calling for a reprimand of one official in particular. Norman will likely receive a fine from the NFL later this week.

Norman was incensed with third-year field judge Brad Freeman after the Redskins were flagged for 15 penalties. Norman was called for four hands-to-the-face penalties, as well as a pass interference that was declined. The rest of the Redskins' secondary was penalized twice for facemasks, twice for interference and once for holding.

One crucial call occurred late in overtime, when Washington wide receiver Pierre Garconwas called for pass interference, wiping out a 14-yard gain to the Bengals' 33. The Bengals were called for seven penalties.

"Who's No. 88? He sucked. I'll be honest with you, he was terrible," Norman said, referring to Freeman's number. "I feel some of the plays going on out there, I mean it was terrible.

"It's just how I'm feeling and how the team feels right now. It needs to be watched and reprimanded. They reprimand us, so what's the reprimand for them?"

The field judge aligns on the tight end side of the field; one of his responsibilities is to watch all eligible receivers on his side. It's uncertain how many calls were made by Freeman. The officials were unavailable for comment; requests for them, typically done over a controversial call, must be made before the end of the game.

"Third year in the league, and he comes over and how many calls did he have? Anyone know?" Norman said. "I'm pretty sure he had the majority of them. It doesn't make any sense."

Norman has already been fined this year for shooting an imaginary bow-and-arrow and for an illegal hit on New York Giantswide receiver Sterling Shepard. Norman also was upset that he was chosen for a random drug test after the Redskins' first two home games.

But this was the most upset he has been after a Redskins game this season. Before Sunday, Norman had been called for seven illegal-use-of-hands penalties in his first four-plus seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information. His previous high for a game was two.

"I'm baffled by it," Norman said. "They need to sit down and look at it. Every time [Bengals quarterbackAndy Dalton] threw the ball, I felt it would be a flag. OK, here you go. Let the guy push off on me, but let me not touch him. The flag at the end of the game ... that was the first offensive pass interference in the game? I need to know because I don't think [Cincinnati] had one of them at all. If you're watching the game, there was a lot of that going on."

The Redskins' secondary likes to play physical, which Norman said the officials know.

"We come over here in an international game, and it seems like they threw everything out the window of what we do," he said. "Hit the guy on the line? Five-yard penalty, hands to the face, hands to the face, hands to the face. Yet every time I touched him, he knocked my hand into him. I was telling [Freeman], but he still called it."

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