Written by James Walker of ESPN
There already were questions about defensive end Dion Jordan's long-term future with the Miami Dolphins.
Is Jordan a good fit for Miami's 4-3 defense? Can he produce more than he did during a disappointing rookie season? Was Jordan a wasted No. 3 overall pick?
Jordan was expected to answer many of these questions in 2014. But his season is already off to an ominous start: On Thursday, Jordan was suspended four games for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances. The Dolphins have a bye in Week 5, so Jordan won't play a regular-season game until Oct. 12 against the Green Bay Packers.
It's no secret Jordan had to get stronger to become an every-down defensive end. Holding up against the run was the primary concern of Miami's coaching staff last season, and it's why Jordan played almost exclusively on third downs and obvious passing situations.
Jordan, 24, got noticeably stronger this offseason. That was evident during organized team activities and minicamp; Jordan's upper body and arms were bigger and more well-defined. He said he's about 17 pounds heavier than a year ago. Having a breakout season didn't seem far-fetched.
But Jordan hurt himself and the Dolphins before a crucial season in which the team must make the playoffs or risk wholesale changes.
"I recently learned from the NFL that I tested positive for stimulants that are banned under the NFL policy," Jordan said in a statement. "I worked carefully with my advisors and the union to investigate the test results, and I take full responsibility for the test results.
"I'm very sorry for the impact of this situation on my teammates, coaches, [owner] Stephen Ross, the entire Dolphins organization, fans and my family as well. I will continue to work extremely hard during training camp and preseason. During the suspension, I will stay in top shape and will be ready to contribute upon my return.”
Jordan is the third defensive end in the rotation. Miami has good depth there with Pro Bowler Cameron Wake, 2013 sack leader Olivier Vernon and backup Derrick Shelby, a group that should be able to perform without Jordan for the first month of the season.
In other words, Jordan's four-game suspension is a mild loss to the Dolphins. That's telling, considering that he was expected to be a franchise building block on defense.
Jordan has athleticism and ability. And now he has 12 games this season to prove he can still be a valuable part of the Dolphins' organization.