Sportress of Blogitude

Steve Smith tones down rhetoric ahead of showdown with Josh Norman

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A Baltimore Ravens-Washington Redskins showdown is on the Week 5 schedule, meaning Steve Smith and Josh Norman, two of the most notorious trash-talkers in the NFL will line up across from one another on occasion.

Smith, somewhat surprisingly, has downplayed the highly anticipated showdown, saying instead it’s all about the team, not any specific one-on-one match-up.

“It’s no need to make it about two individuals,” Smith said, via ESPN’s Jamson Hensley. “If the center doesn’t snap the ball, the linemen doesn’t block and quarterback doesn’t throw, a receiver is obsolete. To make it about Josh and all that stuff — it isn’t about Josh. It’s about the Baltimore Ravens playing better football for four quarters in all three phases of the game.”

Smith and Norman of course were Carolina Panthers teammates in 2012 and 2013, with Norman calling the practices between the two “very, very intense.”

Norman and Smith tangled during a 2012 practice, and afterward the veteran wide receiver said the young corner was “going to learn very quickly this isn’t Coastal Carolina.”

The tone of Norman’s comments this week, though, certainly echoed Smith’s measured response. The Redskins corner praised Smith’s competitive drive, adding the Ravens wideout “plays like a defensive player playing offense.”

Smith’s brash bravado both on and off the gridiron is unparalleled, so it’s interesting he’s toning down the rhetoric at this point. Norman indicated he has no plans to change his demeanor, meaning it should be expected he’ll continue his trash-talking ways.

While Smith up to now is playing it cool, let’s allow Ravens teammate Terrell Suggs to provide his take on the potential for fireworks come Sunday.

“That is going to be kind of fun,” he said. “It’s always exciting to see two competitors go at it. I’m not sure if it’s going to be one of those Odell Beckham-Norman kind of things.”

The NFL certainly hopes that’s not the case, but it should be interesting seeing these two go head-to-head on Sunday. And if the league’s on-field microphones capture some of the banter? So much the better, although it may not be appropriate for younger listeners.