Selected in the 1982 National Football League draft, Steve Jordan played 13 years for the Minnesota Vikings as a star tight end. During his lengthy career, Jordan was picked for six consecutive Pro Bowls, and nabbed 498 receptions for 6,307 yards and 28 touchdowns. Upon his retirement, Jordan was the Vikings’ all-time leading receiver and ranked third on the NFL’s all-time receptions list for tight ends. Meanwhile, as great a player as Jordan was, he was just as great an ambassador for the sport. He has served in numerous positions with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), including player union rep, a member of the NFLPA’s executive committee, and union vice president. In 2019, he became the 25th person to be inducted into the Vikings Ring of Honor. In addition to his football career, Jordan has worked as a civil engineer for Minnesota-based M.A. Mortenson and Rhode Island-based Gilbane Building Company.
Jordan's future as a NFL athlete was far from preordained when he first arrived at Brown University in the late 1970s. Classroom grades had always come first in the Jordan household, and the eighteen year old underwhelmed the Brown football coaching staff, which predicted he would play "not a minute of varsity ball." However, Jordan proved to be a late bloomer at Brown and secured a permanent place in the varsity lineup during his sophomore year, eventually drawing attention from NFL scouts during his senior year—when he caught 38 passes for 693 yards, earning first-team All-Ivy and All-East honors. After his final season, he was awarded the Tuss McLaughry Trophy, which goes to the team member "who through sportsmanship, performance, and influence, contributed most to the sport at Brown." In 1982, Jordan graduated with a Bachelor of Science in engineering. He still holds the Brown record for most yards receiving in a single game.
Jordan remains strongly connected to his alma mater, which he considers vital to his later success. "In retrospect, Brown was a great choice for me," he said. "I had some of the best, and yet most challenging experiences of my life. During my four years at Brown, my personal growth was phenomenal. Brown gave me tools that have contributed directly to my success." In 1993, at the request of Brown University President Vartan Gregorian, Jordan began to serve on the University's Board of Trustees. He also became involved in campus race and diversity issues, including giving Brown a $100,000 gift earmarked for scholarships for minority students. More recently, Jordan was a 2021 honorary degree recipient and the Baccalaureate ceremony’s keynote speaker during a virtual address. On top of his many Brown accomplishments, Jordan was also inducted into the University’s athletic Hall of Fame in 1987.