Way back in 1991, veteran outfielder Brian Jordan teamed up with Tim McKyer
and Deion Sanders to form one of the most formidable secondaries in the NFL which led the Atlanta Falcons to a rare playoff
birth. Now, over a decade later, he’s been a big league All Star (in 1999) and compiled over 1,300 hits.
What if he had stuck with football?
"There’s no doubt in my mind I would have excelled and been an All
Pro," Jordan said. "My third season was my last season, and I was an alternate in the Pro Bowl and people were starting to
notice Brian Jordan on the football field. I had to make a tough decision, but yet a good decision."
Recently signed by the Braves, Jordan spent the 2004 season with the upstart
Texas Rangers. While most experts expected the team to languish in the cellar, the over-achieving Rangers stayed in contention
until the season’s final days. Jordan however, says he saw the team’s potential early on.
"Looking at the young talent we have, I really did (expect to contend).
I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t think we had a shot," he explained. "People thought I was crazy when I signed
to come here, but I saw what they had and wanted to be part of it.
"These guys have excelled all year and have done everything that’s
been asked of them. It’s been great to watch."
Although the Rangers did not exercise his option for 2005, he didn’t
rule out a return. "I would (like to comeback to Texas)," the 13 year veteran commented. "For one, to watch these guys continue
to grow and to come back healthy -- to be able to start from scratch and be part of a winning team."
The 2004 season was easily the most trying of the veteran outfielder’s
career. A knee injury wiped out much of the first half of his season, and when he returned, the 37-year-old was limited to
part-time duty. As a result, he appeared in just 61 games and hit only .222, his lowest totals in both categories since 1992.
"When you are out a couple of months, you lose that baseball conditioning,
you lose that timing off of the pitchers," Jordan explained. "Gaining that back is the toughest part.
"It’s easy to look at your stats, but I have been in this game for
a long time and I know that throughout my career, my first 100 at bats (of a season) have been slow, so I don’t worry
about those numbers. I just worry about trying to get some at bats to improve."
Jordan, who remains in touch with Deion Sanders, called the NFL star "an
awesome talent" and pointed out that the future football Hall of Famer "took BP for the first time in a long time (in mid
August) and hit like four of ‘em out."
The former Atlanta Falcon and Brave said he would like to play at least
two more years and reach 200 career home runs (he currently has 178) before he’s done. For the record, he claims he
still has what it takes to play in the NFL,"If my knee were healthy," Jordan explained. "I would say ‘yes.’"
-David Zingler, February 2005