CHARLOTTE — For starters, it's worth pointing out that we wouldn't normally write a story about a practice squad cornerback choosing a number.
The latest acquisition is a familiar face to the team from his first four years in the league — and has Panthers DNA, according to interim coach Steve Wilks — but he's going to have a new look this week.
Norman's old No. 24 jersey is occupied by CJ Henderson (and league rules don't allow players to switch in-season), so Norman will be wearing a No. 6 jersey when he steps on the practice field Wednesday.
He joked after signing his contract Monday about getting back on the field after a long layoff, and the player who took on the Batman persona during his first stint said: "We'll put on the cape and go out there and do our thing."
Knowing it's a different cape didn't make him any less excited.
"Listen, there can be multiple capes," Norman said with a laugh. "Michael Jordan had 23, and then came in and had 45, right?"
"So me, it's a sense of the jersey chose me, I didn't choose it," he said. "So it's about the man who's inside of it. I had my time in that thing, and it was special. We went to championship games, went to Super Bowls, made All-Pro.
"But now, to garnish that, I think we do it in a different way, a different number."
That jersey was worn by quarterback Baker Mayfield earlier this year, but the Panthers have had good luck with corners in single digits in the past. When Stephon Gilmore was here last season, he wore No. 9.
Josh Norman was originally drafted by Carolina in the fifth round in 2012. He played four seasons (2012-15) with the Panthers, earning All-Pro honors during the team's Super Bowl run in 2015. Norman then played for Washington (2016-19), Buffalo (2020) and San Francisco (2021).