This week's guest on The Fish Tank podcast is former Miami Dolphins wide receiver, Charles Jordan. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Charles found a home with the street gang, The Bloods, around the same time he found football. Despite playing less than one season at Long Beach City College, he worked his way on to an NFL roster and an eight-year professional career, including three seasons with the Dolphins. Here are a few "FishBites" from Charles' time in The Tank with O.J. McDuffie and Seth Levit:
When circumstances changed dramatically in his childhood home, Charles looked for ways to cope:
"In the fifth grade, my Dad left. When he left and moved to New York, he left me with all women in the house to try to become a man and I took the streets on as a father figure."
As his reputation grew in the streets, Charles was given the nickname "Lucky":
"You go through different names and try to find one that will stick to you. Lucky came about because I would always catch a bullet or something and then I'd be lucky that it would just miss my heart or it might just miss my head. Or I'd get pulled over and I'd have a case and as soon as I'd go to court, all of the evidence or something is destroyed and all of the sudden I don't have the case anymore. It was just lots of stuff and they just started calling me Lucky and I guess it carried on."
Losing friends and loved ones was something Charles unfortunately became far too familiar with:
"We weren't supposed to make it past 15 in my neighborhood. If you made it to 15, you were good. You made it. You were like, 'hey man, I made it!' And then you get to 18; you really weren't thinking you would get to 18. Because a lot of friends that died for me, they died before they even (saw) 18 years old. I could just rattle off names to you, and they're dead, man. We were going to funerals like that. So funerals became numb to me. I'm numb to it. My daddy died; I'm numb to it, because I had seen death so much."
Howie Long, who was Charles' teammate with the Raiders in 1993, recommended him to Jimmy Johnson prior to Jordan signing with the Dolphins as a free agent in 1996:
"We were stretching and Howie said, 'Come here. Let me talk to you.' He walked me to the side, and he got (on me) man, real bad. He was just telling me about relationships and why I was there. He said, 'When it was time for Jimmy to get you, I told Jimmy to come get you. Because I said, this kid right here, I played with him and I told him about how you destroyed our defense when you were on our scout team and got us ready each week. (Howie) said, 'I need for you to be a professional and stop with the bull (expletive). When I realized that was a call he made to Jimmy to do that, I felt obligated to do right by Howie for speaking up for me like that."
As a result of his off field activities and limited college experience, Charles realizes now that he needed to grow as a professional:
"I will tell you what I got from being around Juice and some of these guys who were young professionals at the time. If there is anything that I can take back, just do a redo, it would be my attitude; being so arrogant, so cocky. I would do away with that and I would do more of being a professional than feeling like it's the streets, because it's two different things. This is your job."
Charles played alongside a host of decorated wide receivers over the course of his career, but his respect for O.J. is undeniable:
"I had a lot of guys I played with but if I had to line up again side by side with somebody every Sunday, I'd take Juice in a heartbeat. It would be him on that side because I know what I'm getting over there. That's a warrior."
Listen to the entire Charles Jordan interview, as well as all episodes of The Fish Tank podcast on the Miami Dolphins Podcast Network, which can be found on all streaming platforms.
Miami Dolphins Podcast Network: https://www.miamidolphins.com/audio/the-fish-tank
Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-fish-tank-miami-dolphins-tales-from-the-deep/id1409148022