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Dolphins did everything they could for Dion Jordan before cutting him

As Dion Jordan finally walks away from the Dolphins after four disappointing years, he should thank them.

Miami gave Jordan every chance to get his career on track after trading up to draft him third overall in 2013, qualifying him as the biggest bust in franchise history, and that includes a completely new administration at the top of the organization.

The Dolphins’ patience ran out after his failed comeback last season, and they released Jordan this afternoon. He departs with a hollow résumé that includes as many drug-related suspensions (three) as sacks.

Jordan played in 26 of the Dolphins’ 65 games during his time with the team, and the last time anyone saw him in uniform was a late-December game against the Jets in 2014. The week before that, he had five tackles and a sack in a win over the Vikings. Nothing since.

“It’s not a move that’s worked out,” vice president Mike Tannenbaum said this week, offering a simple but definitive summary of Jordan’s time. “It’s pretty obvious.”

Jordan leaves as a 27-year-old with plenty of baggage and not enough potential value to offset it. He’ll have a hard time getting any organization to take him seriously, and it’s a long shot that he’ll ever play again. The more realistic (and important) ambition for Jordan is to find a way to be a functional adult. To his credit, he was accountable for missteps and sounded intent on straightening out his life.

“I’ve learned a lot about myself,” he said in November. “I’ve learned how to be a professional…Just because I slipped and made a mistake, that doesn’t define who I am. Everybody makes mistakes. As long as I continue to move forward, I’ll be alright.”

Hopefully he presses on and finds his way, but it’s time for the Dolphins to move forward as well.

The original general manager and coach—Jeff Ireland and Joe Philbin—that tied themselves to his upside have been gone for a while. Neither of those two, by the way, ever held those jobs prior to joining the Dolphins, nor have they been restored to those roles by any other team since. Ezekiel Ansah, a defensive end who went two picks later to the Lions, is a full-time starter with 32 career sacks and made the Pro Bowl in 2015.

When Miami hired Tannenbaum in January 2015, Jordan had made one start in his first two seasons and already did significant damage to his reputation. It was even worse a year later, when Adam Gase came aboard as head coach.

There wouldn’t have been any resistance to cutting Jordan this year. It actually would’ve been a popular move considering the fan base had long grown tired of him idling.

Yet, with all that stacked against him, the Dolphins did everything they could to rehabilitate Jordan this past year when he arrived at the start of the season with a non-football knee injury. Perhaps it’s a testament to his physical gifts that they kept him around. They said they wanted to see if he could still play and that seemed genuine by the way they treated him.

Gase kept Jordan close, and he was always working on the side during practices. The Dolphins took him on every road trip, even the extended stays in Seattle and Southern California, to ensure they were giving him the best possible care and keeping him attentive to the scheme. He was part of the locker room all year.

There was purpose in those choices, and Miami proved that by activating Jordan in November for the opportunity to earn a permanent roster spot. He had three weeks, by league rules, to practice and prove he could play, otherwise the team would be forced to shut him down for the remainder of the season.

When the three weeks were up, it was an easy decision.

“He just wasn’t ready,” Gase said at the time. “His body’s not ready to go. His game is explosion off the ball, being able to redirect, that burst that you want a guy that plays his position have, and it’s not all the way back. That’s just what it is.

“We didn’t have enough time. We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing as far as getting him better day-in and day-out. He’s done everything we’ve asked. He’s always here. He’s trying to figure out a way to just get his body back to where it was, and sometimes it takes a little longer than you think.”

Too long in this case, and that’s certainly not the Dolphins’ fault.

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