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Saints program cover story: Cameron Jordan

See the best moments from Saints defensive end Cam Jordan throughout the 2017 season.

Saints DE Cameron Jordan's seventh NFL campaign in 2017 was also his best to date. He compiled career-highs in sacks (13) and pass breakups (11) to go along with 62 tackles and two forced fumbles. Jordan finished the 2017 season with 59.5 career sacks, moving him into fifth place on the club's all-time sack list and led the club in takedowns for the third straight season. The sign of consistency for the last seven years along the Black and Gold's defensive line, he became the first Saint to have six consecutive seasons of at least 60 tackles and 7.5 sacks. He also earned his third trip to the Pro Bowl, becoming the only defensive lineman in Saints history to be selected three times.

According to the NFL Players Association, the average playing career in this league lasts about 3.3 years. One might assume that being selected to three Pro Bowls in seven seasons is enough to satisfy the lifelong dream of making it in the NFL for Jordan, who's clearly established himself as one of the game's best defensive players. However, at this stage of his career, Jordan is only half the player that he strives to be.

When asked what he attributes to his success the most thus far in his career, Jordan believes a strong family foundation is key.

"When you talk about what I grew up with — whom I grew up with, my dad being who he is — there's a lot of things that make you want to be better than your father," said Jordan. "You always want to make your family proud and push the family limits."

Jordan's father, Steve, was selected to six consecutive Pro Bowls from 1986 through 1991 and finished his NFL career with 498 receptions for 6,307 yards (12.7 avg.) and 28 touchdowns. He spent his entire 13-year career as tight end of the Minnesota Vikings. Jordan recognizes the significant impact his father had in this league on and off the field and is using his father's milestones as motivation to take his game to the next level.

"It's a running joke that we have," said Jordan. "What is it, nine Pro Bowls between the Jordan family? And I have only three of them to his six, so I have my work cut out for me."

Jordan's mother, Anita, is also credited with having a major impact on how Cameron got to where he is today.

"When you talk about my mom, the foundation of support of her driving us to all of our practices between three kids, it probably got stressful at times and she never wavered," said Jordan. "She was our first goalie, our first coach, so everything from my family has pushed me to want to be better than what I was the day before."

When asked what impact his father has had on his playing career, Jordan points out that his father's work ethic naturally stuck with him from a young age.

"My dad had an engineering degree from Brown and he played 13 years in the league," said Jordan. "So, as you're growing up you see your dad working out three to four times a week, you knew every Saturday you had to wake up early and knock out your chores and you'd hit the park to catch footballs, shoot basketballs and play tennis. That was every Saturday. It was like he was conditioning us to be athletes, but we just thought it was fun with dad."

Jordan is an explosive and physical defensive end with a high motor. The former University of California standout possesses the combination of size, speed and strength to play end in either a 3-4 or 4-3 alignment. He has appeared in 113 games with 112 starts, posting career totals of 460 stops (278 solo), nine forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries, 41 passes defensed and one blocked kick in addition to the impressive sack numbers. He's also played in six career postseason games with five starts, tallying 24 tackles (17 solo), 3.5 sacks and three passes defensed. In 2017, Jordan was selected as an AP first-team All-Pro for the first time in his career.

Not only does Jordan strive to be the best on the field, he also dedicates his time each week to give back to the community of New Orleans. Last season, he was the team nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. The award represents the best of the NFL's commitment to philanthropy and community impact and Jordan has embodied the spirit of the award since the Saints selected him in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. When asked what being nominated for the award personally meant to him, Jordan acknowledged that it's a huge honor to be nominated, but he doesn't dedicate his time for the recognition, he dedicates his time to make both New Orleans and the world a better place.

"Honestly, if people do it for nominations, it would take away from your true motives," said Jordan. "For me, it's all about just being in the community and giving back and I've done that since day one. It was a cool nomination, but I've got bigger and better sights this year."

Jordan's motor is unwavering. As the leader of a talented but youthful Saints defense, his teammates will look to him for guidance throughout this season. After a 48-40 season opening loss to Tampa Bay, Jordan knows part of his job as the defense's elder statesman at the age of 29 and as a four-time defensive team captain will be to challenge the younger teammates to continue to improve.

"They made more big plays than we did," said Jordan. "As a defense, you never want to give up 41 points. That's on the defensive line That's on me. We got a wakeup call for sure. The good thing for us is that it is week one. We can adjust this."

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