NFL

49ers DE Dion Jordan Overcame Substance-Abuse Problems — Now He Can Change His NFL Legacy

A few years ago, it appeared Dion Jordan’s NFL career was over before it really took off.

So much for that narrative. Jordan has spent recent years overcoming personal issues and substance-abuse problems.

Now 30, Jordan’s newest task is to aid an injury-plagued 49ers defense. Jordan revived his career in Seattle and now, with the San Francisco 49ers, can fully change his NFL legacy.

Dion Jordan was a bust in Miami

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The 2013 NFL draft is widely considered to be one, if not the, worst in league history.

Dion Jordan’s disappointing stint in Miami didn’t help the draft’s’ reputation at all. The third overall pick out of Oregon, Jordan had two sacks and five quarterback hits in 16 games, all off the bench, as a rookie.

Jordan’s numbers dipped to one sack in 10 games (one start) a year later. That marked the last time Jordan would play in Miami, barring a future reunion, but not because the team gave up on him.

Jordan only played 10 games in 2014 because he earned two suspensions, one for four games and another for two games, because he violated the league’s performance-enhancing substance policy. A third suspension, this time in April 2015, cost him that season.

Jordan didn’t play in 2016, even after the league conditionally reinstated him, and Miami cut him in March 2017.

Jordan revived his career in Seattle

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The Seattle Seahawks are no strangers to reclamation projects. Dion Jordan became the latest when Seattle signed him in April 2017.

Once Jordan overcame a knee injury and debuted in Seattle that November, the former All-American finally showed why Miami was so high on him. Jordan totaled four sacks, a forced fumble, and four tackles for loss in five games.

A year later, Jordan contributed 1.5 sacks in 12 games (three starts) for the Seahawks. Although Jordan received a 10-game suspension in May 2019, he admitted it was because his therapeutic use exemption for ADHD had expired.

The NFL credited Jordan with two sacks in seven games for the Raiders last fall.

Now sober, Dion Jordan can change his NFL legacy in San Francisco

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Unless Dion Jordan starts racking up sacks like Bruce Smith, he probably isn’t going to do much to change his status as a draft bust.

Still, Jordan’s newest opportunity in San Francisco is another chance to continue shaping his own legacy. Rather than simply being known as a draft bust, Jordan can be remembered as a player who, while he didn’t live up to expectations, rescued his career and life with hard work and dedication.

Jordan told The Athletic last year that he has been sober since 2017. Jordan said he struggled with alcohol and tried a “lot of things.”

San Francisco is in desperate need of defensive line help. Pass-rusher Nick Bosa — the reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year — and defensive tackle Solomon Thomas each suffered torn ACLs in Week 2.

Dion Jordan already did two difficult things: acknowledging he had a problem, and making it back to the league. Compared to those challenges, the task of saving the 49ers’ defense almost seems like child’s play.

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