Henry Wendell Jordan (January 26, 1935 – February 21, 1977) was an American football defensive tackle who played for two teams, the Green Bay Packers and the Cleveland Browns, during his thirteen-year National Football League career. He played in the NFL from 1957 to 1969.
Jordan attended Warwick High School in Newport News, Virginia. He played college football at the University of Virginia, where he was the captain of the football team as a senior. He was also a runner-up in the 1957 NCAA wrestling championships. He was a member of the Beta Chapter of Sigma Nu fraternity at UVA. Jordan was drafted in the fifth round of the 1957 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, who traded him two years later to the Green Bay Packers for a fourth round draft choice. At Green Bay, Jordan was elected to four Pro Bowls (1960, 1961 1963 and 1966), and he was the Pro Bowl MVP in 1961. Jordan was All-NFL six times, and he was a defensive leader on a Green Bay Packers team that played in six NFL title games and won the first two Super Bowls.
Jordan retired after an injury-filled 1969 season. He went to Milwaukee to create and oversee Summerfest.
Jordan died of a heart attack on February 21, 1977, at age of 42. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995. He is survived by his wife Olive, and three children: Henry Jr., Theresa, and Suzanne. He was represented in the coin toss ceremony at Super Bowl XXIX by former teammate Ray Nitschke, who was also named to the NFL's 75th Anniversary team. The ceremony brought together former NFL stars of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, with surviving members of that year's Hall of Fame class representing the latter decade (one of them, then-Congressman Steve Largent flipped the coin on their behalf).
In 1974, Jordan was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.
The athletic field at Warwick High School was named in his honor in 2000.
In May 2009, he was named to the Hampton Roads Sports Hall of Fame, which honors athletes, coaches and administrators who contributed to sports in southeastern Virginia.
By Dean Hanley
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