Turns out that Cameron Jordan set the bar too low for himself.
When the New Orleans Saints selected the defensive lineman in the first round of the 2011 draft with the 24th overall pick, his goals weren't nearly as robust as has been his achievements, the most significant being becoming the 38th player in NFL history to top 100 career sacks. Jordan reached the mark with two sacks in Sunday's 9-0 victory over Tampa Bay, raising his total to 100.5.
Jordan, the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for the third time in his career after adding a forced fumble, two tackles for loss and five tackles to his sacks against the Buccaneers, will look to add to that total Monday night, when the Saints (7-7) play Miami (7-7) in the Caesars Superdome.
"In my wildest dreams, I don't think I thought about getting 100 sacks when I first entered the league," he said Wednesday. "I probably had a third or maybe half as a goal. It was, if I could carve myself out a solid career of seven to 10 years, 40 to 50 sacks, a couple of Pro Bowls, I think that would have been a phenomenal feat for me because then I wouldn't have had to consider myself a failure next to my Dad."
His father, Steve Jordan, is a member of the Minnesota Vikings' Ring of Honor, a six-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro tight end who caught 498 passes for 6,307 yards and 28 touchdowns in 13 seasons, all with the Vikings.
Cam has just as many Pro Bowl honors and has been All-Pro three times in his 11 seasons.
"The 100 sacks is a phenomenal achievement," he said. "Had I not been told I was a run-stopper my rookie year and only had one sack my rookie year, maybe I would have gotten here faster. But we're here now.
"But when it comes down to it, to be a part of the Saints organization alone for this last 11 years has been a blessing. There's been so many phenomenal people I've met. Everything that the Saints have meant to me, it goes beyond just sacks. It goes to the teammates I've had, to the locker rooms I've been a part of, to who I am now, to who I aspire to be.
"One hundred sacks is a phenomenal milestone personally, but beyond that, it's that I've done it with the same club. It's that I've had the interpersonal connections with the teammates that I've had that has really brought true meaning to 100 sacks. It's just so much more that you don't see in the personal accolade."
And there's more. Jordan said playing another five seasons feels feasible.
"I feel like 16 (season) is a solid number," he said. "I feel like with the energy that I give this game, everything that I've been able to give this game, and everything the game has given to me, I've never taken it for granted. I've always enjoyed each moment that I've been here.
"My rookie year, I try and tell people, I got drafted to play a three-technique and I worked my ass off to become a defensive end and be recognized as such. But for me, it's about loving each and every minute I'm in this building, being able to work and do the job that I love."
MORE HONORS: Defensive Player of the Week wasn't the only recent accolade bestowed upon Jordan. He also was named the team's Walter Payton Man of the Year, which puts him in position to be named WPMOY in the NFL, one of the league's most prestigious honors. It's the second time Jordan has been the Saints' WPMOY.
"To be nominated a second time, that's huge," he said. "That's a blessing. That's a nod of acknowledgement of the work that I'm doing in the community. And to me, when I first heard it, initially I was like, that's not going to stop me from doing my work but if anything, it's going to add on to it. This gives an extra light (to his charitable work).
"If you would have asked me this for my first nomination, I was like, 'I don't want the cameras around.' Now that I'm older, now that I'm a little bit wiser, I understand that even though I don't want the cameras around, it's helped put a highlight on some of the great programs that I've been able to be a part of. This prestigious Walter Payton Man of the Year Award can go a long way with highlighting individuals and the work that they're doing. And I still think that there's so many other teammates that are still qualified.
"It's a great nod, acknowledgement, but there's still so much more that I can do and hopefully will be doing in the future."