OREGON – There was only one thing tougher for Chris Jordan than sweating through an Oregon football practice, like the one he endured Wednesday afternoon.
That was sitting on the sidelines, watching his teammates do it.
Jordan, a senior, found himself in that position for the bulk of the 2012 season, when he was a two-way starter for the sophomore squad. In a Week 2 game against Harvard, he went down with a torn meniscus in his left knee.
It happened in the first quarter, on one of the Hawks' staple plays – 48 Power, in which the wingback, in this case Jordan, loops around for a handoff and follows a cavalcade of blockers.
"I made a cut, and something just popped in my knee," Jordan said. "I didn't think it was too bad, because I played the rest of the game. The next morning, my knee was all swollen, and I knew it wasn't good."
After the swelling went down, Jordan underwent a procedure to repair the part of the meniscus that wasn't damaged too badly. About 45 percent of the meniscus was removed.
That didn't stop him from being part of the team. He didn't miss a practice the rest of the season, with the exception of when he had a doctor's appointment.
"I'm not going to lie, it sucked pretty bad," Jordan said, when asked about sitting on the sidelines for seven games.
After the surgery, Jordan was on crutches for 2 weeks, and was able to start walking about 2 weeks after that. After 3 months, right around Christmas, he was able to start running.
To further help heal his knee, he was pushed in P.E. class by one of his teachers, Nick Schneiderman, who is also a Hawks assistant football coach.
"He told he wanted me to come back stronger than I was, not just get back to where I was," Jordan said. "Coach Schneiderman was pretty tough on me, but he helped me through it."
By the time the 2013 football season came around, Jordan was ready to roll. He was a full-time starter at cornerback, and a part-timer at running back. He's the team's top returning receiver, with five catches for 192 yards and two touchdowns.
For Oregon coach John Bothe, it came as no surprise that Jordan was a key part of the 2013 Hawks.
"Chris is such a hard worker, and he did everything he needed to do to get back on the football field," Bothe said.
Heading into the 2014 season, Jordan is one of the Hawks' leaders. He's penciled in as a starter at cornerback and wingback. On a team with just 21 players, he'll fill two vital positions.
He's one of a host of players who will play both ways, and he's prepared to do so. He didn't miss an Iron Hawk workout, held each Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning in the summer, along with many of his teammates.
"Since I've been here, we haven't really had a lot of guys on the varsity team each year," Jordan said. "This year, it's the same, but we're prepared for it. We know what we need to do, and we're ready for it."
That's music to the ears of Bothe, who counts on his seniors heavily each season.
"When you play a vital role as a junior, like Chris did last year, we count on that type of player heavily as a senior," Bothe said. "I fully expect him to be one of our impact players this season."
Did you know?
Prior to Addison Driscoll winning 7 straight championships beginning in 2001, its last playoff loss was to Oregon. The Hawks took a 34-14 decision from the Highlanders in the 2000 Class 3A semifinals.