Under The Radar: Wayne Norman
The Thunderbirds defense has changed throughout the years, but there always has been one constant which is linebacker Wayne Norman. One of the first players to play for the Thunderbirds back when they were an expansion team in Season 2, Norman is a defensive anchor for the defense and one of the best linebackers in the RFL. In his career, he has been to two Pro Bowls and won NFC Defensive Player of the Year and Linebacker of the Year for both Season 2 and 3.
In the locker room, he’s known as a great leader to his teammates. “To be honest, if Wayne wasn’t on the team our defense wouldn’t be as good as it is right now,” Jordan Cramer said in an interview. “He makes our defense a cohesive unit.” Wayne gives credit to his college coaches at FIU for his leadership skills. “I learned so much when I was there,” Norman says. “They didn’t only teach me how to improve my game, they also taught me life skills as well. If I didn’t go there, I wouldn’t be who I am today. The coaches I had from high school to now taught me that life isn’t a waiting room. If I want something, I have to go out and get it myself, be competitive and a team player, always give my best effort. I always have that mindset.”
Norman has used that mentality to become a mainstay on the Thunderbirds defense, although he may not get all the glory of a passer or pass catcher, his role on his team is just as important. Head Coach Mark Kozyra spoke on his defensive captain "There is no title last season without Wayne on our team. The things he brings to the table for us cant be measured by stats and accolades.. the way he helps the young guys, the way he helps us install our game plans every week, his great football mind to be able to adjust things in the heat of the moment, the motivation he offers when things are not going our way.. you just cant teach those things." Wayne Norman might not be one that you think about when you think of game changers in the RFL, but when it comes to the NFC, the rest of the coaches know that he is one of the biggest threats on game day.
Written By: Chrome