It did not take long for the introduction of linebacker Kiko Alonso to turn to suspended defensive end Dion Jordan. The Miami Dolphins traded for Alonso, along with cornerback Byron Maxwell, on Wednesday, adding the two players in a swap of 2016 first round draft picks with the Philadelphia Eagles. Alonso spoke to the media for the first time on Thursday, and the seventh question he face broached the subject of his college roommate.
Jordan, the 2013 third overall pick in the draft, a pick for which the Dolphins traded up with the Oakland Raiders, has been suspended three times under the NFL's substance abuse policy. He was first suspended at the start of the 2014 season, a four-game suspension that was reduced to two games when the league and the NFL Players Association re-worked the standards and punishments of the substance abuse policy. He was found to have again violated the policy during his initial suspension, and was given a second ban, this time a four-game suspension that ran consecutively to the first suspension.
Jordan was suspended for a third time during the 2015 offseason, an automatic one calendar-year ban. Jordan will be able to apply for reinstatement to the league in April, but there are plenty of question marks about Jordan's desire to play the game, his ability to stay clean in the substance abuse policy, and his ability to get back into football shape. According to Alonso, those fears may be unnecessary.
"I can only imagine. I fought through it and it sucks, missing time like that,"Alonso said of how he imagines Jordan's mental approach to football after missing an entire year . "I bet he's going to come back and have a chip on his shoulder."
Alonso missed the entire 2014 season after tearing his ACL during a workout prior to the start of the year.
"Dion, he's one of my best friends," Alonso explained. "He's a great player, a great guy. I talked to him recently. I hope everything works out with him and I look forward to possibly being his teammate. He's a great player, so I'm definitely looking forward to playing with him."
The Dolphins have to make a decision if Jordan is reinstated. He is scheduled to account for a $6.2 million salary cap hit if he stays on the Dolphins' roster, while the team would get $3.2 million in cap relief if they were to cut him. If Jordan is reinstated, he will have to prove to the Dolphins coaches and front office that he is dedicated to the game, wants to play, and is able to keep himself clean, otherwise, Miami could go ahead and allow him to play with the chip on his shoulder somewhere else in the league.