Last week, Miami Dolphins former number three overall pick Dion Jordan was conditionally reinstated by the NFL from a drug suspension. Jordan's return means the Dolphins could see him on the field in Week 1, which would be his first regular-season game since December 2014.
That's good news, right? Well, Jordan's return hasn't exactly been treated as such by many Dolphins fans.
Most Fins fans still have a negative outlook for Dion Jordan at this point. Fans are rightfully still upset that a player for whom the team traded away a second-round pick in the 2013 draft has thus far totaled as many suspensions (three) as he has career NFL sacks. That's not what Jeff Ireland had in mind when he swung for the fences during his final draft as general manager for the team.
Being disappointed is fine. But it's time for the team and the fans to welcome Jordan back with open arms and cheer him on as he attempts to turn his life around.
What's done is done, but a lot of good can come out of what was once an incredibly worrisome and troubling situation. There was a long period of time when Dion Jordan's name wasn't even mentioned. He was gone. No one expected him to overcome his problems, especially not after pictures surfaced of him looking less than in shape on the beach.
The fact that Jordan made it this far — soon to strap back on the teal-and-orange — should be applauded. He could have given up on his dream, but he got his life together enough for the notoriously strict-on-drugs NFL to give him another chance. Now is not the time for the fans, team, or media to treat him like he's coming off a domestic assault charge.
Last week, Dolphins head coach Adam Gase made it clear that Jordan has a long way to go.
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“We’re taking everything very slowly. We’re trying to make sure we do everything by the book, exactly the way the league wants us to do it," Gase told reporters. "He’s trying to do a good job of doing exactly what he’s told to do. You talk about Step 1 of like 500. It’s going to take some time for us to make sure we do every little thing right for this thing to turn out the right way.”
The root of many fans' hatred for Jordan comes from his draft position. In 2013, Jordan was widely agreed upon as the best defensive player in the draft. The Dolphins did a very un-Dolphins-like thing and moved up to grab the player they wanted, cost be damned. Fans applauded the move and were excited about team execs finally going after talent rather than letting the talent come to them.
Now is the opportunity for fans to forget those beginnings and think of Jordan as a free conditional draft choice the team picked up this offseason. He's troubled, but also low-cost and high-reward at this point.
Dion Jordan is trying once more to live his dream and turn his life around. Miami Dolphins fans should find the good in what's beyond the windshield, not what's in the rear-view mirror.