Jags GM: Suspended WR Justin Blackmon not likely to return

ByMichael DiRocco ESPN logo
Tuesday, August 4, 2015

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The NFL career of troubled Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmonappears to be over.

General manager David Caldwell said Tuesday the Jaguars have had no contact with Blackmon and believe that his 21-month absence from the game makes it unlikely the former first-round pick will play in the NFL again.

"I have not heard anything and I guess I harbor a little bit of hope, but realistically I think when you're away from the game for two and a half years, what you were once is not what you probably will be," Caldwell said. "Your skills do erode, and especially if you're not staying in tip-top shape and you're not in football shape.

"I don't know to expect, but I would say common sense would probably be if you haven't played football in two and a half years, apparently that's not a priority for you."

Blackmon, whom the Jaguars took with the fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft, hasn't practiced or played since Week 8 of the 2013 season. That was when the NFL suspended him indefinitely for his third violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy. He must apply for reinstatement and then go through a nearly two-month vetting process before he can get back on the field.

According to the attorney who handled Blackmon's most recent court appearance, Blackmon completed a voluntary drug-rehab program in 2014. He was in court in Edmond, Oklahoma, on Nov. 20, 2014, to plead no contest to misdemeanor marijuana possession, a charge that was later reduced to disorderly conduct for which he had to pay a $454 fine.

That plea was the result of Blackmon's arrest on July 23, 2014, when Edmond Police Department officers stopped him for a traffic violation and said they could smell marijuana coming from his car.

That was Blackmon's third arrest and his second in Oklahoma. He was arrested in Texas in 2010 on a misdemeanor DUI charge (later reduced to underage alcohol possession) after police officers caught him speeding outside of Dallas. He was arrested again in May 2012 -- less than a month after the Jaguars drafted the former Oklahoma State standout -- during a traffic stop in Stillwater, Oklahoma, after a breath test allegedly showed his blood alcohol content to be three times the legal limit.

That arrest put him in the NFL's substance abuse program.

Blackmon caught 64 passes for 865 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie in 2012, but he failed an offseason drug test and was suspended for the first four games of the 2013 season. Blackmon returned for Weeks 5-8 and caught 29 passes for 415 yards and one touchdown before the NFL suspended him indefinitely following his third violation of the league's substance abuse policy.

The Jaguars have not cut Blackmon, and Caldwell has said numerous times that the team does not plan to do so. Blackmon's spot on the reserve/suspended list means he doesn't count against the roster limit or salary cap, and the Jaguars do not have to pay his salary. His contract paused upon his suspension, so he would have two and a half years left on his deal with the Jaguars if he was to return to the NFL.

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