Miami Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan reported back to the team for the first time in 15 months on Saturday, a day after the league ended his indefinite suspension for violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Jordan spent the day in the team facilities but was not allowed to practice under the league’s conditions for his reinstatement, which require treatment resources be established in Miami and approved by the league before Jordan can begin practicing.
On Sunday, depending on how quickly Miami can get those resources established and approved, could have anticipated Jordan being ready to practice, but medical issues have jumped into the fray. Jordan injured his knee at some point during this offseason and was forced to undergo a surgical procedure - believed to be an arthroscopic cleaning of the knee - which landed him on the Active/Non-Football Injury list. The Dolphins will be able to activate Jordan whenever he is medically cleared to practice, but it is expected to be 2-3 weeks before that happens.
Jordan may not have practiced on Sunday, but he did meet with the media. He discussed his emotions, returning to the team, stating, “I’m excited. I’m happy to be in the building. There’s a lot of new faces. Everything just seems kind of brand new. For myself, I’m just excited to get out here and be around the guys in the locker room and just have that opportunity to compete once again.”
He continued, stressing that he never had any doubts about returning, “No. I was doing everything and being compliant with the league and doing everything (they asked of me). They reinstated me so I never had a doubt."
Jordan was asked about what he wants the fans and his teammates to know about him, following the suspension. He replied, “I’m a hard-worker on the field, first of all. And I feel like they’ve seen that with my play and everything that I was doing while I was here, that’s for sure. I’m just a good person overall. I had a couple bumps and I had to overcome them. It was part of my journey as a person, first of all, and as a football player second. I’m kind of just putting that in the past and learning from it and moving forward, so I can make myself a better person and football player.”
He was also asked if he feels like he let the team down in being suspended. “For myself,” he explained, “I’ve never felt like I had to live up to anybody else’s expectations but mine because my expectations for myself are higher than anybody can have for me. I feel like the main thing, though, were my mistakes off the field. They would cause me to miss a lot of games and continue to progress as a football player. I’ve addressed those things since I’ve been away. Now I’m back and now it’s time for me to get in work with these guys. We have a lot of good players here now – a lot of vets on the defensive line. I’m just excited to get out here and learn and continue to progress.”
Does he feel like he let himself down? “No, I don’t. I’m a young man. I made mistakes. I’m going to learn from them and move forward. Once I get out here and have a chance to compete with these fellas, I’m going to use everything that I’ve learned since I’ve been off to help the younger players and myself moving forward.”
Looking back on the past year, Jordan explained, “It was tough. All of it was tough – just being away from the game for that whole year. But I knew I wanted to come back and I wanted to prove to myself first and foremost and then to the people in this organization, that I could be a big factor once I get out here. So I just put my mind to it. I trained real hard and now I’m here.”
“I don’t know,” Jordan answered when asked if he felt like he needed the suspension to change his life. “I wouldn’t say it like that. I hope if it didn’t happen, I would have made better decisions because then I would have been able to progress as a football player. But it’s life. (There) were mistakes that I made. Everything happens for a reason. I learned from it. I moved forward. I’m a better person now, and now I’m just working to continue to be a better football player.”
Jordan also talked about his knee, explaining, “I just had it cleaned out. That was a little something that I had to take care of. But moving forward now, they’re taking care of me over here. I can’t practice so I’m doing a lot of conditioning and everything else to be prepared when I strap up.” Then added, when asked if he injured it working out, “That’s just between myself and the guys.”
Jordan, who continues to be listed as a defensive end despite speculation that the Dolphins could look to move him to linebacker, was asked where he sees himself playing. He laughed as he replied, “On the defense.”
When asked about his weight, he replied, “Around 275. The same as I was before.”
Based on that weight, the Dolphins may have to leave him at defensive end this year, which could add depth to the line, but also adds him to a deep position group featuring Cameron Wake, Mario Williams, Andre Branch, Jason Jones, Terrence Fede, and Chris McCain all looking for playing time. Miami has a few more weeks to decide exactly what they want to do with Jordan, but if he does stay at defensive end, he could find himself buried on the depth chart.