Nearly 15 months ago, the NFL suspended Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan for at least a year. Nearly two months ago, he applied for reinstatement. With training camp looming, no action has been taken on his request.
It’s a strange situation, mirroring the unexplained delay that clouded the initial reinstatement efforts of Browns receiver Josh Gordon. In Gordon’s case, the suspension later was extended; in Jordan’s case, a source with knowledge of the situation has expressed a high degree of confidence regarding the player’s compliance with all requirements of his treatment program and his successful completion of all drug tests. If there’s any reason why Jordan shouldn’t be reinstated, Jordan and those close to him aren’t aware of it.
The delay takes on even greater importance because Jordan is due to receive a $1.7 million roster bonus on the fifth day of training camp, which is Monday. Despite a report that the bonus no longer is owed, the truth is that the bonus is no longer guaranteed. If he’s on the roster on the fifth day of camp, the team owes him the money. If he’s not, he doesn’t get it.
And so the inaction regarding the consideration of Jordan’s reinstatement request has triggered suspicion that the delay isn’t accidental or inadvertent. If it is, the league should in all fairness rule on the request sooner than later — especially since the training-camp roster bonus was developed as a compromise to the offset debate, giving the player a large chunk of his compensation for the current year without credit for the team if he’s cut more than five days after camp opens.
Even without the roster bonus hinging on the decision, Jordan deserves to know whether he’ll be playing. If he won’t be, he deserves to know why.