Dion Jordan is eligible to apply for reinstatement from his NFL banishment under the league's drug policy.
Any player -- in this case, Jordan -- who has been banished under Stage Three of the NFL's drug policy may apply formally in writing for reinstatement up to 60 days before the one-year anniversary date of the letter so banishing him. Jordan was banished with the opportunity to seek reinstatement after one year on April 28, 2015. That means he was eligible to begin the process of getting back in the league as early as February.
It is not known if Jordan and his representation has indeed begun that process. The Dolphins have repeatedly declined to discuss Jordan's status, citing the NFL's confidentiality clause in the drug policy and fearing penalties for violating any portion of that clause -- perceived or real.
The NFL and NFL Players Association agreed to a drug policy that has clear guidelines Jordan must follow to return to the NFL.
His application should include all pertinent information about the Player’s: (a) Treatment; (b) Abstinence from Substances of Abuse throughout the entire period of his banishment; (c) Involvement with any Substances of Abuse related incidents; and (d) Arrests and/or convictions for any criminal activity, including Substances of Abuse-related offenses.
Once NFL commissioner Roger Goodell receives the reinstatement application the following happens:
- Within 45 days of receipt of the application, the player will be interviewed by the medical director and the medical advisor, after which a recommendation will be made to the commissioner with regard to the player’s request for reinstatement.
- The Player will execute appropriate medical release forms that will enable the commissioner’s staff and NFLPA Executive Director’s staff to review the player’s substance abuse history, including but not limited to attendance at counseling sessions (individual, group and family); attendance at 12-step and other self-help group meetings; periodic progress reports; and all diagnostic findings and treatment recommendations.
- The player will submit to urine testing by an NFL representative at a frequency determined by the medical advisor.
- The player will agree in a meeting with the commissioner or his representative(s) to comply with the conditions imposed by the commissioner for his reinstatement to the status of an active player.
- All individuals involved in the process will take steps to enable the commissioner to render a decision within 60 days of the receipt of the application.
The earliest Jordan can be reinstated is April 28. That assumes he and his representation have abided by the steps listed above to the letter and did so in timing that suggests they are in the final stages of working toward reinstatement.
But that is merely a best-case scenario. That is not necessarily the reality of this case.
Indeed, it is quite possible Jordan has not applied for reinstatement yet as his target date for returning to the league was -- according to one source -- fluid. There have been times Jordan told confidants he wanted to return "as soon as possible." There have been times he's said he wants to be back in time for training camp. There was even one time, midway through his suspension, Jordan signaled he might be done playing in the NFL.
The fluctuation itself is curious.
Dion Jordan has served three NFL suspensions since being drafted No. 3 overall in 2013. He was suspended four games in 2014 for violating the performance enhancing drug guidelines. He was then suspended four more games in 2014 for violating the substance abuse guidelines. He was then banished from the league with the opportunity to apply for reinstatement after one year last April -- the current suspension he's serving.
During that time the Dolphins have failed to find a position for Jordan when he was been on the field, suggesting a lack of organizational vision for a player they drafted so high. The team also has wavered on whether it wants to keep Jordan.
He has been on the trade block numerous times and the Dolphins were expecting to trade him to Philadelphia (and coach Chip Kelly, who coached Jordan at Oregon) when he was suspended the last time.
Kelly is now in San Francisco.
One Dolphins source has told The Herald the team expects to welcome Jordan back if and when he is reinstated. Another source has told me that is mere posturing in hopes of making Jordan viable enough to trade.