Of the few positives that can be associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, there's this one: If has given Cameron Jordan more time in New Orleans than he otherwise might have had.
The normal Jordan travel schedule vanished under quarantines and stay-at-home restrictions. New Orleans has been better for it.
On Thursday, Jordan, the New Orleans Saints' All-Pro defensive end, added another layer to his already-impressive legacy in New Orleans when he made a $25,000 donation toward the purchase of 70 laptop computers and other essential electronics for youth.
Jordan, via his God Iz Love foundation and in conjunction with UnitedHealthcare and New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, will distribute the laptops to student participants in Pathways, a year-round workforce readiness program for system-involved youth.
"In this quarantine section of this year, from March until now, normally if I'm in New Orleans, I usually get to visit a military academy, I usually go to a couple of different high schools, go to a couple of different elementary schools," Jordan said. "I continue my idea of producing positivity and positive influences into our community.
"But because of COVID-19, I wasn't able to do so. That led me to having more time on my hands, and this idea of 'more.' As an athlete, I'm always trying to push myself to the highest of my abilities, so it's like more sprints, more conditioning, more weights, what more can I do. And in an effort to push advancement, I'm always thinking about, 'What else can I give? What more can be accomplished?'
"I was able to partner up on this idea that there's such a divide, especially in New Orleans East. We talk about everything that our community needs, everything that these kids are doing. (But) when you look at some of these kids, they're at home and we never even process that they wouldn't have the ability to Zoom in, to Webex or whatever the adaptive measure is to tune into a class for an isolated area.
"And because of that, I was like, 'What can I do?' With this effort, at least this provides an amount of computers to kids across New Orleans. It seems like a drop, but I just feel like it's the first push to like, hey, I can use my God Iz Love Foundation, which is for the advancement of our community and of our next generation of kids that will be adults."
Earlier during the pandemic, Jordan partnered with Fat Boy's Pizza to provide food to front-line workers. The latest charitable acts are two of many that Jordan has performed since becoming one of New Orleans' two first-round picks in 2011.
"It's like, a good deed for right now," he said. "In my mind, it's not about what I'm categorizing, it's about where my heart has always been fed. As soon as I got to New Orleans back in 2011, I was like, 'What can I do? How can I positively impact my community?' And I take that same notion to where I'm at now. I couldn't tell you where or how I raise money, but I do know I'm putting forth my best effort to leave a positive impact."
The off-field effort matches his on-field motor. And Jordan figures he'll be ready when the Saints report for training camp.
"I've been doing nothing but running and conditioning since March, getting back from the core injury that I had," he said, referring to offseason surgery. "I'm probably in the best shape of my career."