The road back to practicing in the NFL has been long for Jordan. Almost two years long. For an NFL player whose average career in the league is only three years, two years can be an eternity.
Jordan has been through a lot since being drafted 3rd overall in the 2013 NFL draft. A shoulder injury slowed his development right out of the University of Oregon but he appeared in all 16 games as a rookie recording 26 tackles and two sacks.
Heading into his Sophomore season, Jordan was looking for a spot in-then defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle’s defense. However, before the season even started Jordan was hit with a suspension for a substance abuse violation. After serving his four-game suspension he was forced to watch for an additional two games before appearing in the final 10 games of 2014, recording 20 tackles and only one sack.
The 2015 season was the one we all though Jordan would finally break out and prove his worth.
Jordan was forced to serve a year-long suspension for violating the substance abuse policy a third time.
Fast forward to 2016. Jordan is all-but an afterthought, being dubbed as one of the biggest draft busts in recent memory. A glimmer of hope was flashed before the eyes of fans as he was reinstated by the NFL in July.
Here we are today. Jordan has spent the last four months rehabbing from surgery and put a helmet on for the first time in 19 months this last week.
Dec 14, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws over Miami Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan (95) during the second half of the New England Patriots 41-13 win over the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Sitting at 6-4, Miami is in the hunt not only for the AFC East crown but also a wild card berth. Although injuries look to be playing against the Dolphins down the stretch, Jordan could be a breathe of fresh air if activated.
Miami has three weeks to activate Jordan before he’s forced to sit out his second consecutive season. That’s three weeks to prepare, get back into game shape not only physically but mentally.
2016 isn’t a year we’ll see him step in and take anyone’s spot in the starting lineup; Cam Wake and Andre Branch have proven to be a great duo on the ends for Vance Josephs defense. Behind the starters are Mario Williams and Terrance Fede with a suspended Jason Jones waiting to get back on the field.
This will sound like a broken record but one that’s screaming optimism for the special talent that Jordan truly is. 2017 could be his year to prove his worth at the NFL level. But before that time comes, Jordan needs more games under his belt.
The last six weeks will be crucial for Jordan as he looks toward his 5th season in the NFL. The 2017 season will be a contract year; either he performs next year and receives a new contract or he’ll hit free agency in 2018 hoping one of the other 31 teams will trust not only his talent but his character and love for the game of football.