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BANKING on football

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TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ It's 7 a.m. and Shan Jordan is beginning his rather unique day.

His wife, Aesha, is expecting their first child _ a daughter _ in October, so there's plenty to be done before he heads off to work as a commercial loan officer at American State Bank in north Tulsa.

In about 45 minutes he'll be setting up at his desk, considering the various applications and contracts in his care. Every once in a while he'll glance at the calendar, looking at Saturday, a date that has been circled in red.

It's the date Jordan, 25, and his Tulsa Talon teammates meet arenafootball2 powerhouse Quad City, a date that both teams have been longing for ever since Tulsa's 49-47 victory on May 12.

The Talons leave Thursday night, and for Jordan to be there _ he's scheduled to make his first start of the season against the Steamwheelers _ he'll have to miss work again on Friday.

But that, everyone says, is cool.

``Generally he just misses one day,'' said his boss, ASB president Pedro Bryant. ``We've got some very good associates at the bank who . . . alternate opening and closing with him and covering for him. He makes it up to them by working on Saturdays or by closing.''

It's 1:30 p.m. and Jordan is looking over a loan application from a local church that has decided to expand. It's a typical contract, nothing out of the ordinary. But it's a far cry from the mundane tasks he did as operations manager last year, his first with the Talons.

``Commercial loans is a big weight off my shoulders compared to that,'' he said.

So, then, he might have just a little more time to daydream _ about scoring touchdowns, about raising his daughter, maybe even about his glorious football past at Tulsa Washington and Northeastern State, where he was named a second-team All-American safety as a junior and All-Lone Star Conference as a senior.

``His mother didn't want him to play when he was younger,'' said his father, James Jordan, co-owner of Jordan Fresh Fish Market on Greenwood Avenue. ``She thought he was too small.''

He's still not big (5-foot-10, 190 pounds), but he's still making the most of it. Through 11 games with the Talons he caught 16 passes for 217 yards and scored five touchdowns. The numbers are modest, but helpful. His TDs always seem to come at crucial times.

His size and stats will likely keep him from advancing to the next level of pro ball, the Arena Football League. But that's OK, too. If an AFL team did come calling, Jordan would have a surprising answer for them.

``I wouldn't do it. I'd probably turn it down,'' he said. ``It's kind of funny, because I know most people are here hoping to move up, but my focus and goals are right here in Tulsa. This is where I want to raise my family.''

It's 6 p.m. and Jordan is hurrying to close up the bank. He's double _ and triple _ checking the teller drawers and, as Bank Security Act coordinator, making sure all the numbers comply with the FDIC.

Jordan's situation isn't a novelty. All the Talons have day jobs. But there's only one banker. Jordan is in management training, and Bryant says ``he catches on very well.'' He got his degree from NSU in finance, so he has been preparing for this career _ these careers _ for years.

``We pushed that education for real,'' said James Jordan. ``I'm glad he loves the game, but the main thing was the education.''

After his stint as operations manager last year at American State Bank, Jordan and Aesha moved to Dallas (she worked for Sheraton Suites, he for Fidelity Investments). But when Aesha became pregnant, they started thinking about returning to Tulsa. That suited Shan just fine. He had been checking the Talons' Web site daily to monitor the team's transactions.

``I really didn't think I would be coming back. I gave up on football,'' he says. ``But I had a hunger for it. My wife could see it. She knew I wanted to play.''

Jordan says both the Talons and the bank ``welcomed me back with open arms.''

Bryant says he and the other 13 or so employees at the bank were ``thrilled'' to have Jordan back and think it's great that he still plays ball. Some employees go to games regularly. Bryant hasn't made one yet this year, but said he'll try to make the home finale on July 13.

``He can be my banker any time,'' said Talons head coach Skip Foster. ``He's a trustworthy guy.''

It's 8:30 at night and Jordan stands in the corner of an enclosed dressing room that has invented a whole new level of smell. He and his teammates just wrapped up practice, and the place is piled high with football gear that seems to be almost alive.

``Yeah,'' he says with a laugh, ``this place is pretty bad.''

Aesha _ now working for Nursefinders, a temp service that locates fill-in nurses for doctors and clinics _ has been home nearly three hours, if she didn't stop by the fish market to see her in-laws first.

Shan Jordan rushed to the practice facility _ an auxiliary space at the Tulsa Convention Center _ straight from the bank. In 20 minutes he'll be home, and in a couple of hours he'll be asleep, ready to do it all over again.

``He's doing real good,'' his father said. ``I'm proud of him.''
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