DAVIE, Fla. — The Miami Dolphins announced a crowd of 2,700 watched Sunday’s first practice of training camp.
Make that 2,701.
Defensive end Dion Jordan, Miami’s top draft choice, did nothing but watch. Jordan, taken with the third overall pick last April out of Oregon, was placed on the non-football injury (NFI) list because he still has not fully healed from right shoulder surgery five months ago.
Jordan already was a bit of a mystery man since he couldn’t participate in the Dolphins’ organized team activities during the spring due to Oregon being on the quarter system. He was eligible for rookie minicamp the first weekend of May, but his shoulder situation sidelined him at that one.
“He looked big in person,” Miami cornerback Nolan Carroll said Sunday about the 6-foot-6, 248-pound Jordan. “It’s the first time I’ve seen him.”
One presumes the Dolphins soon will see Jordan play but nobody is offering any timetable. Jordan said “you’ve got to ask Coach” how long he’ll be out. Yet Miami coach Joe Philbin didn’t offer much about Jordan, who can remain on the NFI until final cuts are made. But it would be a big surprise if he’s still on the list then.
“This is your job and this is your motivation,” Jordan said about sitting out the first practice. “It’s really frustrating to not be out there. … But I understand my health is my main concern right now. So that’s what I’m going to focus on.”
On Saturday Jordan signed a four-year, $20.6 million contract, which included a $13.3 million signing bonus. He figured it was important to get into camp in time even if he had known a few days before the start he would be going on the NFI.
“All I can do is watch and listen,” said Jordan, who was wearing his No. 95. “I’m going to open my ears, open my eyes and just soak in everything, so when it’s time to go I’ll be ready.”
When a player is drafted in Jordan’s spot, there obviously are high expectations. For now, though, they’ve been put on hold.
The Dolphins won’t fully know what they have until they see Jordan do something on the field. Everyone is looking forward to when that happens.
“I saw his highlights,” said wide receiver Mike Wallace, who said he didn’t see Oregon play much on television last season when Wallace was with Pittsburgh. “I’m excited to have him. He’s an explosive guy, a big lanky guy. You put him on the other side of (Cameron Wake) and he can do some great things.”
The likely plan is have Wake, fourth in the NFL last season with 15 sacks, starting at left defensive end and Jordan on the right side. Jordan had 12.5 sacks in 26 games as a junior and senior in college.
Wake also hasn’t seen much of Jordan other than highlights. But he’s intrigued.
“I haven’t gotten a chance to see him put the pads on yet,” Wake said. “But the reputation from what he brought from college, he should be a hell of a force. (But) I’m one of those guys who, until you do it, it hasn’t happened.”
No, it hasn’t yet. Jordan so far has been one of many spectators at Dolphins training camp.