Miami Dolphins rookie defensive end Dion Jordan was active in the early stages of Tuesday's training camp practice, the team's first session in full pads.
The first-round pick went through a special teams drill in which players practiced blocking punts by getting a hand on a red rubber ball booted by an assistant coach, and then a pass rush drill.
Then Jordan's action came to a screeching halt.
Although Jordan, the No. 3 selection in the draft from Oregon, was taken off the Non-Football Injury (NFI) list he's occupied for the previous two days, he's still limited as he recovers from February surgery on his right shoulder to repair a torn labrum.
Coach Joe Philbin isn't sure when Jordan, the highest draft selection the Dolphins have ever used on a defensive player, will participate in a full practice.
"We'll have to see," Philbin said. "We'll have to watch the tape, and it's going to be a gradual process. We'll have to see how he responds, see how he feels tomorrow and take it from there. We are never going to rush a guy if we don't feel he's ready. We'll take our time."
At least Tuesday's limited action was a step in the right direction.
"It felt real good, first of all, just being out there with the guys and being able to run around and hit things and get back to normal football routine," Jordan said.
Because of traditional rookie defensive line hazing rituals Jordan's new hair style features one bronze streak in the middle and one bronze streak on each side of his head. It was crafted on Monday night. Veteran defensive tackle Paul Soliai was the man most responsible. But Jordan doesn't mind. After missing most of the off-season workouts and the first two days of training camp practices, he's ready for anything that says NFL.
"I'm paying my dues," the angular Jordan (6-6, 250) said with a smile.
Jordan is being counted on to help what could be one of the NFL's best defensive lines. He'll be playing beside a pair of Pro Bowl defensive tackles in Soliai and Randy Starks, a quality tackle in Jared Odrick, and a Pro Bowl defensive end in Cameron Wake.
Regardless, Jordan would perform he said he doesn't feel pressure.
"No, I don't feel any pressure," he said. "I feel like as far as my personal goals I just want to get out here and help any way I can because the whole thing is do better than we did last year and take this team as far as we can, and as long as I compete and make myself better as a player then I'll help the team doing that."
Odrick, a first-round pick in 2010 who had an injury-shortened rookie season, said patience is the key for Jordan, the pass-rushing specialist who is being counted on to play opposite Wake.
"Everybody wants to jump the gun and get out there, including himself and the rest of us," Odrick said. "But you've got to be smart about it."
So far, defensive end Olivier Vernon, the second-year player from the University of Miami, has done well holding down the right defensive end position, the spot he'll eventually share with Jordan.
Vernon, who earned AFC Special Teams Player of the Week in October, has earned rave reviews so far in off-season workouts and training camp. Jordan, who had 14.5 sacks in his college career, said he's not concerned with being a starter. He just wants to play "no matter what it is."
"If it's as a pass rusher, if coach put me out there to start even if its special teams, I want to play football no matter where it is," Jordan said. "I'm going to work, and you've got to earn everything, so I have to earn whatever it is."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun