Romell Jordan, ex-New Mexico RB and adopted brother of Red Sox C Blake Swihart, dies at 23

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Nick Bromberg
·4 min read
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New Mexico running back Romell Jordan (4) sprints to the end zone past Air Force linebacker Ja'Mel Sanders (7) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Albuquerque, N.M., Saturday, Sep. 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
New Mexico running back Romell Jordan (4) sprints to the end zone past Air Force linebacker Ja'Mel Sanders (7) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Albuquerque, N.M., Saturday, Sep. 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

Former New Mexico running back Romell Jordan died Wednesday. He was 23.

Jordan is the adopted brother of Boston Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart. The Red Sox canceled Wednesday morning’s spring training media availability for what the team had initially termed a family emergency for one of its players.

Manager Alex Cora then addressed the situation without providing specifics before news of Jordan’s death became public.

No cause of death was immediately revealed.

Jordan played running back at New Mexico from 2014-17 and played in 26 games over three seasons with the Lobos. His most prolific season came in 2017, when he appeared in 12 games and had 56 carries for 267 yards and two touchdowns. He finished his New Mexico career with 105 carries for 551 yards and five scores and also had 13 catches for 85 yards.

“The news of Romell Jordan’s sudden passing is heartbreaking. Romell was one of our first recruits from Cleveland High School and he was a great young man. Romell went through many hardships, from a devastating knee injury to his mother’s passing, while with our team,” New Mexico head coach Bob Davie said.

“He was a great teammate and friend his successful career at UNM was a huge source of pride for him, his family and this community. We will all miss Romell’s positive attitude, and his spirit. The entire Lobo Football family will have the Jordan and Swihart families in their thoughts and prayers through this very difficult time.”

Added UNM athletic director Eddie Nuñez: “We are saddened to learn of the passing of Romell Jordan. He was a wonderful ambassador for our football program who overcame tremendous adversity in his life during his collegiate career. Our hearts go out to the Jordan and Swihart families at this very difficult time.”

New Mexico said it will hold a moment of silence in Jordan’s memory before its women’s basketball game vs. San Jose State on Wednesday night.

Jordan moved in with Swiharts in high school

Per Mass Live, Jordan was adopted by the Swihart family after he started living with them while he was in high school. Swihart’s parents, Carla and Arlen, became Jordan’s guardians.

Jordan moved in with the Swihart family while he was living in New Mexico. He had lived in multiple states as a child with various family members — a 2012 story in the Albuquerque Journal details his tumultuous childhood — and was with his godparents in Rio Rancho. After his godparents told Jordan they were struggling financially, Swihart’s sister Kacie, a high school classmate of Jordan’s, suggested that the family take him in.

Jordan missed the 2016 season

Jordan couldn’t play in 2016 because he suffered a torn ACL in spring practice. His mother Tamela Denise Cade-Manning died that September at age 50. He said he struggled dealing with the death of his mother and the rehab process at the same time and had to remind himself how blessed he was.

“I stopped eating, I stopped sleeping,” he told the Journal in 2017. “I just stopped caring. It was just a real low point in my life, and I just didn’t care about much. I didn’t have football, and I didn’t have my mom.”

Jordan redshirted in 2013, his first season at New Mexico. Since he had played in just parts of the 2014 and 2015 seasons at the school, he expressed interest in that 2017 story of trying to get a sixth year of eligibility in 2018. However, he was not on the team’s roster last season.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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