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Jordan Learned From His Father at Every Step

Posted Jun 16, 2012

By Matt Mendelson

Defensive End Cameron Jordan has been around professional football for as long as he can remember. His father, Steve Jordan, played 13 seasons for the Minnesota Vikings. Cameron says that he owes a lot to his father who has helped him every step along the way.

Steve, a 6’3, 241 pounds tight end, recorded 498 receptions for 6,307 yards and 28 touchdowns from 1982-94. Before coming to the NFL, the former Vikings standout played his college football in the Ivy League at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Steve finished his professional career when Cameron was just five years old, but the Saints defensive end still remembers his trips to the Vikings practice facility in Winter Park, Minn. to play as a preschooler.

“I remember being able to use the facility and they had a big punching bag on one side of the field,” said Jordan. “We would just go and have a good time. We didn’t care what they were doing on the field.”

As he grew older, Cameron became more interested in the sport himself.

While his father was pushing for both of his sons to play his former tight end position, Cameron always stayed on the other side of the ball on the defensive line.

“My brother and I were so stuck in the ground about not being compared to him,” said Cameron. “He tried plenty of times, we wouldn’t even hear it.”

But a change of position couldn’t drive a father from trying to help his son succeed. Steve wanted to help coach his son and did so all the way through high school. To this day, he still provides tips after games whether in person or on a phone call a day or two after the contest.

“Whatever team we were a part of, he would try to be a coach on,” said the defensive end. “He stuck to his position, but he just wanted to stay close and make sure everything was going alright.”

After the conclusion of his prep career, Cameron attended the University of California. Jordan was a four-year letterman for the Golden Bears on his way to recording 175 tackles (88 solo), 16.5 sacks, 34 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, an interception and five pass deflections. While appearing in 50 games with 33 starts, Jordan played both left and right end in a 3-4 defensive scheme and was named All-Pac-10 Conference first-team as a senior.

The Saints drafted Jordan with their first selection (24th overall) in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Cameron attended the draft at Radio City Music Hall in New York with his father and other family members and friends. He really enjoyed sharing the experience with people that supported and helped him along the way ever since he first stepped on a football field.

“When I got drafted it was like he got drafted again,” said Cameron of his father. “He was even more excited than I was. He was just happy to see me get to the next level.”

As a rookie, Jordan, 6’4, 287 pounds, was pushed into the starting role immediately opposite veteran defensive end Will Smith.

Even as a first year player, he possessed the size, speed and strength to play in the Saints defensive scheme, which while being a 4-3 base, would also morph occasionally into 3-4 elements. Jordan appeared in all 16 games with 15 starts and recorded 59 tackles (27 solo) with one sack, six pass breakups and one fumble recovery.

Cameron says that he talks to his father about once a week, usually about life and football. Jordan said that come September, the focus turns more to what is happening on the field.

“I don’t think that things have ever changed with him,” Cameron said. “He is going to sit me down and tell me what he wants to say. “As I have become older, I realized that he has very valuable information that he could share with me. He has helped me a lot.”

This year, Cameron is hoping to make major strides in just his second season. Over the offseason, he has learned a new defensive scheme under first-year Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo that will give him varied responsibilities along the Black and Gold defensive line.

“I have worked really hard to show the staff that I can be more involved in third downs and collapsing the pocket,” said Jordan. “I want to help pressure the quarterback. Mainly, I just want to work hard and improve every day.”

In the spirit of Father’s Day on Sunday, Cameron knows he will keep getting important tips from one extra coach: his dad.

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