Jorge Cordova missed all of last season with a knee injury, but his Jaguars jersey debuted on national television this week on "The George Lopez Show."
It wasn't a coincidence that Lopez wore Cordova's number 58 Jaguars jersey on the show. Cordova had presented Lopez with the shirt this past winter, following a comedy-act appearance in San Diego.
"George Lopez is a Mexican-American. Me being one, too, we relate in a lot of ways. I used to watch him when he was doing stand-up comedy on the Spanish channel. When I was at home a couple of months ago, he did a stand-up comedy show and I got to meet him after the show. I gave him a jersey and he said he was going to wear it on the show," Cordova said.
Tuesday night, Lopez was true to his word. Cordova's black jersey made it to the big-time.
"It helps get my name out there in the Spanish community, letting them know there's one of us out there trying to make it," Cordova said.
Cordova is a first-generation American who is intensely proud of his Mexican heritage. His parents migrated from Tijuana, Mexico, to San Diego, where Cordova was born and raised. As a youth in Tijuana, Cordova's father was one of the many Mexican kids who sold gum and candy to tourists on the foot bridge that connects customs with Tijuana.
"So, we came a long way," Cordova said with a smile.
Symbolically, Cordova has come a long way from the day in last summer's training camp that he blew out his left knee: torn ACL, done for the year.
He was a third-round pick out of Nevada-Reno; a defensive end/linebacker "tweener" who was going to be used as a pass-rush specialist. The Jaguars, desperate to improve their pass-rush, had big plans for Cordova. Then came the knee injury.
"It feels good being part of the team again," Cordova said on Thursday, following another offseason conditioning workout. "I was playing on a lot of (substitution) packages. That would've been my role; rush the passer. That's what I intend to do this season."
"He can run the edge and force the quarterback to step up in the pocket, and then there's Marcus (Stroud) and John (Henderson). He can take double-teams off Marcus and John," defensive coordinator Mike Smith said of Cordova.
The Jaguars have fortified the defensive end position with the additions of Reggie Hayward and Marcellus Wiley, but Cordova remains a player who can be used in specialty roles. He has up-the-field potential. He has the speed and athletic ability to be disruptive.
"I wasn't going to be a full-time defensive end. I was specifically for certain types of packages," he says.
He'll focus on his specific pass-rush role, work at learning the weakside linebacker position and prepare for a full dose of kick-coverage … and debut his number 58 Jaguars jersey in an NFL regular-season game.