Tim Jorden, Steelers Tight End, 1992-1993
First, can you let readers know about what you’ve been doing since your playing days and how you got involved in your line of work?
I have been in the mortgage and banking industries for the past 17 years. I started as a Loan Officer in the off-season before my last season and it has turned out tobe a good career for me. In 2002 I started a bank with some fellow bankers and we sold the bank in 2006. Since that time I have been running the Arizona operations for a mortgage lending company.
You played for three years in Phoenix before moving on to Pittsburgh. As a rookie, how did you get acclimated to the NFL – both on and off the field- and who helped you to do so?
I was an undrafted free agent and came into the league the first season that teams had a practice squad. It was lucky for me that the NFL decided to add a practice squad that season or I probably would not have had an opportunity to continue playing. I had some veterans (Jay Novacek, Roy Green, Tootie Robbins) that taught me the ropes in my first season, so I was ready to play by my second season.
You were signed by Pittsburgh as a free agent in 1992 after three years in Phoenix.What do you think caused the Steelers to be interested in you and what made you decide to sign with Pittsburgh?
I think I had a reputation as a smart player and the Steelers needed someone with experience that could learn the system quickly, because they had suffered injuries to three tight ends the previous week. I showed up on Monday and ended up playing quite a bit of the game five days later.
’92 was Bill Cowher’s first season as the Steelers Head Coach. What did you notice about his approach that made him so successful in turning the team around from a 7-9 to 11-5 team?
Coach Cowher was the best head coach I’ve ever been around. He had a bit of a wild streak, so the players were a little scared of him. However, at the same time he was a players coach and could relate well with what the players were going through. He had an amazing ability to recognize potential problems and make decisions that helped avoid the problems. He also instilled confidence in his players.
He would tell us before a big game, “You are completely prepared because you worked hard all week. I don’t care if you make mistakes as long as you’re flying around on the field and giving great effort.” I tell the kids that I coach the same thing, so I hope he doesn’t care that I have stolen his line!
Humor played such a big part on those Steelers teams. Can you describe how humor affected you as a player and teammate and do you have any examples of some of the hijinks that went on then?
We had some characters on the 1992 and 1993 Steeler teams. Bubby Brister and Merrill Hoge kept us laughing most of the time, so it was a pretty fun atmosphere.
Who were some of the toughest players you lined up against during your time in Pittsburgh- both in practice and on other teams – and what made them so?
We had Kevin Greene and Greg Lloyd as outside linebackers on that team. I always felt like games were easier than practice after having to block those two guys all week. Greg Lloyd was nearly unblockable because of his athleticism and intensity. He was probably the best outside linebacker I ever went up against.
Your career ended after the ’94 season. What prompted your retirement from the game after ’93 and how difficult was that for you?
I actually had one more season (1994-95) with the 49ers after Pittsburgh. I was cut four times by the 49ers in the same season which told me it was time to find a new career! I was “onthe bubble” for making the team every year, so I felt pretty lucky to play six seasons in the league.
How did you prepare for your post-NFL career? Were you doing so as a player? If so, how?
I did an internship every off-season to try to find a career that I would enjoy. I hated the first five jobs I tried. Luckily, I found the mortgage banking industry on try number six and I have enjoyed it for 17 years now.
What are your thoughts on today’s NFL – both on the new rules and the attitudes of players today?
I think the players have become so big and athletic that the current rules are a necessity to keep players from serious injury (or worse).
I can’t stand seeing guys celebrate after a routine tackle or catch. My family is probably sick of hearing me say “just do your job and go back to thehuddle”. I know it adds the sizzle, but it is a terrible example for the kids to watch.
What are your best memories as a Steeler, and what makes them so?
I have a great admiration for the Steeler organization and the Rooneys. I have an even bigger admiration for the fans. I have travelled all over the world and I see Steeler signs and jerseys everywhere I go. It is amazing how many Steeler shirts and bumper stickers I see in Arizona…….Every time I see the Steeler emblem I say “Go Stillers” and I get an approving nod from the Steeler fan.
On occasion I bring up that I played two seasons in The Burgh, but only when I have time for a long conversation!
Any last thoughts for readers?
I was a starter at H-back for two years in Arizona and I could go anywhere in town without being noticed…..Needless to say I was excited when three people came up to me the first time I went into the grocery store during my first week in Pittsburgh and said “Are you Tim Jorden?”. When I got back to my apartment I called my wife and said “I’m a third string tight end and people are coming up to me and introducing themselves!” I truly believe the Steeler fans are the world’s best!