The longest-tenured New Orleans Saints player still runs sprints after practice, still sounds a little salty when he's given a "vet" rest day during training camp, still is a layer of energy wrapped around a ball of adrenaline that's been injected with caffeine.
Defensive end Cameron Jordan has given New Orleans 10 of the most productive seasons ever submitted by a player in franchise history, and he's looking forward to beginning his 11th year, too. Jordan and the Saints will complete their preseason schedule Saturday in the Caesars Superdome, when New Orleans plays Arizona.
"It means a lot in terms of the pride that I take every day, coming to work with this helmet on, thinking that I'm representing the logo," Jordan said. "We talk about what the Saints have meant to me from the day I was drafted (in 2011), the lockout year when I wasn't even allowed to talk to the organization and the city embraced me, to finishing my 10th season and having the opportunity to take it now into my 11th season.
"All this is pride for me, every day. So every day I take the field, it's just that pride of knowing every day I get to earn this. It's that pride knowing we're getting closer to the regular season, it's the pride of knowing we have an intense standard for our defense that we're trying to approach.
"So each day can't be a wasted rep. It has to be one of these opportunities that we've seized and taken advantage of."
Jordan, it seems, doesn't waste much of anything. The three-time All-Pro, six-time Pro Bowler has 94.5 career sacks (100 if the 5.5 playoff sacks are included) and is 20.5 away from tying Rickey Jackson's all-time franchise mark of 115 regular-season sacks. And he envisions much more than that.
"At least 35-and-a-half (more sacks)," he said. "I'm thinking a buck-thirty."
Which means, in Jordan's eyes, there are more levels – or, "Levelz" – that he has to attain.
"We're always striving for perfection, and this is an imperfect game," he said. "So (the possible heights) is untold. Because every day there's something that I can get better at.
"I mean, I feel like today (Thursday), I've been doing a lot of pull-slips – which is just a power rush with a slip inside – I've been trying to focus on the outside slip. So it might have been a little slow on the outside pull today, but it got done. One percent better every day."
The accumulation of "one percent a day" has been beneficial for New Orleans in 10 seasons, and has helped grow a defense that, statistically, has improved from one of the worst in franchise history (440.1 yards per game allowed in 2012, 29.8 points per game allowed in '15), to one of the best (21.1 points and 310.9 yards allowed per game in '20).
"If we want to get to a Super Bowl, it has start with our defense," he said. "We all know offense puts up points, but we know defense wins championships – as the saying goes, anyway. So that being said, we have to be a championship-caliber defense if we want to win a championship.
"I think we're a couple of instances away from being a championship-caliber defense. I think if we improve on our rate of turnovers, if we improve on some of our third-and-shorts, we'll be exactly where we want to be at. And we have to keep the standard of how we've played the run."
The best way to maintain the standard, is to follow the standard-bearer. Jordan has been that for most of his decade as a Saint, and takes pride in the fact that he has remained with one NFL franchise.
"God's blessings have allowed me to be healthy enough, allowed me to be able to display my talents on the field and been lucky enough to be with the same team," he said. "Because as we all know, everybody wants to be with the same team their whole career, but sometimes – whether it be trades, via cut, via whatever it is – you may have a different plan unfold. I've been blessed enough to play 11 years."
Check out photos of New Orleans Saints defensive end