Miami Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan appears to be on track to make his season debut this Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to a report from the Palm Beach Post's Andrew Abramson. Jordan was suspended for the first six games of the season for two separate drug policy violations. Jordan returned to practice this week, but has not officially been activated yet and head coach Joe Philbin has been non-committal in his plans for Jordan.
Jordan, the team's first round draft choice in 2013, was limited in his playing time as a rookie, despite the team trading up to the third overall pick to select him. Coming out of Oregon, Jordan was required by NFL rules to finish the academic term during which he was drafted prior to joining the team. For a school like Oregon, that is on the quarters system instead of semesters ,that often means a rookie is unable to practice with his team until late June.
Miami's top pick was also dealing with a shoulder injury that slowed his progress, ultimately leading to him seeing limited playing time on defense during the year. He flashed at times when he was out there, but he played special teams more than he played defense.
Major improvement was expected this year, when Jordan, who added 15 pounds of muscle since he was drafted, would be able to work with the team throughout the offseason training programs and would start the year healthy.Instead, he tested positive for what he initially described as a stimulant in a dietary supplment. He was suspended for four games, a suspension that was reduced during the season to two games, when the NFL and NFL Players Association agreed on a new drug testing policy. Jordan, however, was notified that he would have to serve a second suspension, this one an additional four games, for a second drug test.
The second-year player said in a statement that he was seeking help for his problems.
If Jordan is to play this weekend, a roster move would be required to release a player and free up a position on the team's 53-man roster. Jordan, who is behind Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon, and Derrick Shelby at defensive end, could see more playing time on special teams, an area where Miami needs help, than on defense, much like last year.
Miami could also rotate Jordan back to linebacker, where he would be asked to cover tight ends and running backs, a skill he proved he could do at the NFL level last year when he was placed on New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Jordan recorded two sacks as a rookie, and will be looking to do better in just 10 games this season.