Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins’ Dion Jordan back from suspension but needs to work on earning trust of coaches, players

Dion Jordan, coming off two drug-related suspensions by the NFL, said he has come back to the Dolphins with a ‘clear mind.’
Dion Jordan, coming off two drug-related suspensions by the NFL, said he has come back to the Dolphins with a ‘clear mind.’ Miami Herald Staff

Dion Jordan spent the past two months working on himself.

He will spend the rest of the season working on his relationship with the organization that’s still waiting for a return on their investment of the No.3 draft pick.

Jordan was finally back at practice Tuesday after serving a six-game suspension for twice violating the league’s drug policies.

During a five-minute session with local reporters, the defensive end said the right things. Among the highlights:

▪ “I think [Dolphins fans] should be confident I’m drug free. Yes, I’m very confident.”

▪ “I feel much better. It was unfortunate that I had to take the time, but it was the most time I’ve had to myself in a really long time. I used it wisely as far as making sure I bettered myself, and secondly, making sure I came back with a clear mind.”

▪ “I’m not looking back on what happened. It’s no point in me doing that. I’m moving on, and that’s all I can do.”

Although he might not want to revisit the longest drug suspension for a Dolphins player since Ricky Williams lost the entire 2006 season, plenty about Jordan’s ordeal remains unclear.

Questions remain, such as: What exactly did Jordan take (he was first suspended for failing the league’s test for performance-enhancers, and then again for violating substance-abuse policy)? How long would he be suspended if he failed another test? And where did he spend his lengthy banishment?

At the time of his suspension, the team said Jordan was seeking treatment for an unspecified issue; Jordan on Tuesday would not confirm he went to rehab.

Jordan said he spent time around people who knew him best — his family lives in the Phoenix area. He also was permitted to work out at the team’s practice facility; players said he has been around for the past couple of weeks.

Jordan, who appeared in all 16 games as a rookie but had a negligible impact, said he’s been lifting weights with Kaleb Thornhill, the team’s director of player engagement.

But until Tuesday, he had been barred from practicing. Jordan’s first day back was a lot like the weeks leading up to his suspension. He worked with the defensive line and on special teams, and attended meetings with the defensive line.

Philbin’s take

“He looked good,” coach Joe Philbin said. “He really did. I talked to him a little bit toward the end of practice and asked him how his legs feel, and he said they felt good. ... My initial reaction was he moved well.”

Said defensive end Jared Odrick: “[He adds] a lot of speed, diversity to our defense. He can play all over the field.”

Officially, Jordan still remains on the reserved-suspended list, where the Dolphins can keep him for another next week, if they choose. Philbin said Jordan’s physical and mental sharpness will play a role in when he returns to the field.

During his suspension, Jordan said he was “not at all” concerned about losing his job.

And yet, Dolphins coaches and staff would be forgiven if they have apprehension about what the future holds. Although the NFL cited privacy restrictions when asked about Jordan’s situation, it’s clear that another failed test would result in an even longer suspension.

“We’ve talked numerous times,” Philbin said. “It’s about looking forward and moving forward in all aspects, professionally, personally. I’m excited about having him back.”

Moving forward

Inside the Dolphins locker room, players seemed willing to forgive, if not necessarily forget.

Cameron Wake, who has served as a mentor during Jordan’s short time in the league, indicated that the young pass rusher could rebuild the trust of his teammates but also suggested it won’t be without effort.

“I’d like to think that it’s just like football,” Wake said. “If you make a mistake, whether it’s dropping a football or fumbling or missing a tackle or a sack, you learn from those things. Same thing off the field. .... You learn from it and move forward. Say, ‘Hey look, I’m not going to do that anymore. I’m going to make sure I don’t do it again and move forward.’”

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