ALAMEDA -- The past seven years haven't gone as planned for Dion Jordan. But now a Raider, Jordan is certain he's where he is supposed to be.
"It all just fell in place, man," Jordan said Wednesday after practice. "I feel like every day or every hour that I've been here, I'm reminded that I made the right decision. I'm just very thankful that it happened the way it did. There's no stress on me. It's all football."
It hasn't been all football for Jordan thus far in his career.
Jordan was reinstated by the NFL on Tuesday after serving a 10-game suspension for Adderall. He had a therapeutic exemption to use the drug for his ADHD, but it expired, and Jordan took the medication anyway.
That suspension was just the latest speedbump in what many thought would be a promising career.
Drafted with the No. 3 overall pick by the Dolphins in 2013, the Oregon product struggled to make an impact during his first two seasons in Miami. Jordan totaled just three sacks and seven quarterback hits in his first 26 games,
Before the 2014 season, Jordan received a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy. He violated the policy again in September 2014, receiving an additional two-game ban. A diluted urine sample during the following offseason gave Jordan his third strike for violating the policy, and he was suspended for the entire 2015 season. While reinstated before the 2016 season, Jordan did not play a down of football and was cut by the Dolphins in March 2017 after failing a physical.
Still loaded with potential, Jordan was signed by the Seahawks, and he played five games for Seattle in 2017, notching four sacks. He played 12 more games for the Seahawks in 2018.
Now, Jordan joins a Raiders team in need of pass rush help after Arden Key went down with a broken foot. Jordan still is just 29 years old, and filled with the talent that tantalized the Dolphins to trade up with the Raiders to make him the highest Duck drafted since Joey Harrington in 2002.
Jordan spent his suspension working out in San Francisco. He's in the best shape of his life --- down to 8 percent body fat -- and turned down a few offers from other teams to stay by his support system and help a Raiders team that has its eyes on the playoffs.
"The same thing I bring everywhere: Just effort," Jordan said about what he brings to the Raiders. "Effort and the will to want to win. I know that's what this organization's all about, and I'm just trying to be apart of that."
Jordan starred as both a tight end and a defensive end at Chandler High School in Arizona, and was the No. 10 tight end in the country coming out of high school. After redshirting in 2008, Jordan permanently made the switch from tight end to defensive end in 2010. During his final three seasons at Oregon, Jordan recorded 119 tackles, 29 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks.
He had some great moments at Oregon, but henever took over games the way top draft picks are expected. There was some surprise when he shot up draft boards and was taken No. 3 overall.
The talent never was the issue. But can he put everything together and realize his potential?
Raiders coach Jon Gruden hopes Jordan, with a support system around him, will become everything so many teams thought he would be while he was laying the wood in Eugene. But it's on Jordan, not the Raiders, to make that happen.
"They extended the offer for me to come here, that was it," Jordan said of what the Raiders must do to help him be what he has the talent to become. "I feel like the environment and the people that [Gruden] set up around this place is proven that I have that opportunity [to reach his potential]. It's all up to me like it is with everything else. It's up to the individual, it's up to me to go out there and work hard at practice, dive into the playbook, and to treat people with respect and type of loyalty and love that they deserve."
Jordan joins a young and talented defensive line that is coming into its own after a Thursday night win over the Chargers. Rookies Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby have been tasked with leading the pass-rush unit. Ready to hit the ground running, Jordan feels like this unit suits what he brings to the table.
"A lot of young guys who just know how to go," Jordan said of his new teammates. " I feel like I fit right in with these dudes. That's how I play. I just go."
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Jordan has his support system, one the Raiders are helping him with. He's ready to help his new team in any way, shape or form. The Silver and Black need another pass rusher. Ferrell, Crosby and Benson Mayowa have a lot on their shoulders, and Jordan has the talent to step in and create havoc in the backfield.
He's no longer expected to be the defensive cornerstone the Dolphins drafted him to be. He's just here to play a role.
But he's happy to be given an opportunity to put on a helmet and go to work every day. To dive into the Raiders' playbook, stick his hand in the dirt on Sundays and be apart of a playoff push.
The expectations that come with being a high draft pick still follow him. Maybe because he puts them on himself. Maybe because the talent and potential still are there.
He's in a good place mentally and physically. He's back playing the game he loves, is ready to seize an opportunity afforded only to those with immense talent and make the most of what might be his final opportunity to become what many believed he would when his name was called in 2013.