Dion Jordan’s NFL career has been disheartening. The Miami Dolphins linebacker was taken third in the 2013 draft, but only played one injury-plagued season before a series of failed drug tests led to suspensions and, eventually, a one-year ban from the league.
But Jordan will apply for reinstatement this week and spoke to USA Today from the office of Empower founder Tareq Azim, with whom Jordan has been working for two months. He said he “can’t waste” his chance if reinstated and that he no longer feels like football has to define him.
Although he tells USA Today he “never, ever” had a drug problem, Jordan tested positive for both ecstasy and marijuana in 2014. He then gave a diluted sample near the end of the season, which led to a one-year ban that started in April 2015. Agent Doug Hendrickson told USA Today that Jordan had been drinking alcohol and didn't know he couldn't get in trouble for it, so he tried to flush it out of his system
“I had a lot of people around me, like my agent and even older (players) that could’ve told me, ‘You’ll be OK,’” Jordan tells USA Today. “But I tried to do a lot of things on my own and found myself just (messing up).”
Jordan is still tested for drugs twice a week and has not failed one since the ban started, Hendrickson said. But the Oregon product still struggled to find a purpose without football. Hendrickson said he asked Jordan last fall to meet with Azim, an MMA trainer who also focuses on the mental side. Azim has worked with Hendrickson and several of his clients (most notably Marshawn Lynch) in the past.
Jordan reportedly has lost 12 to 13 pounds of fat since coming to Empower, which leaves him at 270 (a reasonable weight for a 6-6 outside linebacker). It’s far from a certainty that the Miami Dolphins will keep him around if and when he is reinstated, but our Dolphins Report says that the team would be smart to do so.
Hendrickson is quoted in the USA Today piece saying that he expects Jordan to ultimately be reinstated, and that his story should provide a blueprint for other players in similar situations that want to get things back together. Of course, the process usually takes 30 to 45 days, and Roger Goodell has final say, but Jordan seems to be handling everything well on his end. At this point, he's known as one of the most notable draft busts in recent years, with just three career sacks in 26 games (no starts).
“I just want to play football,” Jordan told the paper. “Because I got myself in trouble, I really ain’t got the say-so in a lot of things. But I do have the say-so in how I approach every day, how I approach my workout, how I deal with people, outside when I walk the streets, and how I wake up every morning as far as getting done what I need to do to get back on the football field.”