Dizon Already Planning A Comeback

Jordan Dizon has just intercepted a pass in this pre-season practice photo

As most NFL players were ready to begin the 2010 season, a few others were in despair after suffering season-ending injuries.

One of those unfortunate players is Waimea’s Jordon Dizon, who was expected to play a key role at linebacker and on special teams for the Detroit Lions.

The former Waimea High School multisport star started at middle linebacker in the Lions’ preseason opener Aug. 14 at Pittsburgh, but left the field with an injury to his left knee after team-mate Jason Hunter rolled into his leg while trying to make a tackle.

“It was bad,” Dizon says. “I woke up the next morning feeling really good, hoping for the best. I got out of bed and I was able to walk a little bit and I thought it was healing, but then I got the devastating news of the MRI, which was a killer for me.”

It was a result the former University of Colorado Buffalo linebacker didn’t expect after he was helped off the field in Pittsburgh. The Lions placed Dizon on injured reserve, which brought his season to an end.

“I was in the prime of my career where I was really happy, really comfortable, really confident in myself, and then this happened,” Dizon told the Oakland Press, a Detroit area newspaper. “It is devastating for my confidence, it hurts me definitely with my experience. Hopefully, I’ll come back stronger next year.”

The paper also quoted Lions head coach Jim Schwartz: “Jordon was doing a really nice job. It was disappointing to lose him because he was reaching that point in his career where he was starting to show some really good things. He was holding weight a lot better than he ever had, he was north of 230 most of the time … He’ll come back, he’s a hard worker.

“He was really good on all special teams; he was a four-phase guy there. He had played outside linebacker, inside linebacker, nickel linebacker. He’s a guy we’re going to have to work hard to replace.”

Detroit linebacker Julian Peterson echoed the same sentiment: “That was big. Dizon is one of those guys who can pretty much fill in at any spot.”

“It’s just part of the game,” Dizon says. “Football is one of the only sports in the world where you’re pretty much guaranteed to get hurt. It’s devastating, but at some point it’s expected.”

He’s right, but not many players share this attitude, which is what really keeps his NFL dream alive as he makes his long road to recovery.

As a Menehune, Dizon was coached by some of the best minds in the game at the prep level, and that is where he learned not only how to be tough on the field, but upstairs between his ears as well. In his prep days, Dizon was a two-way star, playing running back as well as linebacker.

At Colorado, he was a four-year starter, and in his senior season was a consensus first-team All-American and a finalist for the Butkus Award which goes to the nation’s top collegiate linebacker.

He also was named the Big 12’s Defensive Player of the Year.

But for now, the third-year NFL player will stay on injured reserve and the Lions will continue their season. And the team that wears Honolulu Blue knows that at least for next year, they’ll have Dizon back to growl at opponents’ offensive stars.

One thing the former second-round draft pick knows all too well is that obstacles are only there to make a person stronger, as he gets back to the place where the dream continues.

Neither Dizon nor Schwartz would be specific about the injury, although Dizon compared it to that of teammates Kevin Smith and Brandon Pettigrew, who are both coming off ACL surgery.

“It’s eight months for them and they’re already back strong,” Dizon says.

“I’m hoping and praying sooner than that.”

So are a lot of folks in Detroit and on Kaua’i.

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