JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon has been suspended indefinitely without pay for another violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
Blackmon was previously suspended the first four games of this season for violating the policy.
So this is at least his third violation in about 18 months. And the Jaguars are acknowledging he has a problem.
“All of us who are a part of the Jaguars family care very deeply about Justin and his well-being,” general manager Dave Caldwell said in a statement. “That said, he must be held accountable and accept the consequences announced today by the NFL.
“His suspension will provide him the opportunity to receive the attention and professional treatment necessary to overcome his challenges, and we will support him during this time. The Jacksonville Jaguars will evaluate Justin’s status once he has successfully met the criteria to be considered for reinstatement to the league.”
Blackmon’s suspension begins immediately. He will be eligible to apply for reinstatement prior to the start of the 2014 season.
“I want to sincerely apologize to Mr. (Shad) Khan, my teammates, my coaches and to the Jaguars fans for not utilizing the resources that I was provided to overcome my challenges,” Blackmon said in a statement released by his agent. “I am determined to overcome the issues that have resulted in this situation, and I truly appreciate the support that the Jaguars and my agent have shown me.
“I will address these matters with the type of intensity I usually direct toward my on-field play so that I can be ready to be a productive member of the team and community next season. Again, I am truly sorry to Mr. Khan, my teammates and coaches and to the Jaguars fans for the impact of my situation on the team as well as to my family and friends and those that have been there for me during these challenging times. Nobody is more disappointed with all of this than me.”
Since the winless Jaguars (0-8) aren’t on the hook for the rest of Blackmon’s salary this season — they also might try to void what remains on his rookie contract — they could keep him on the roster in hopes he turns his life around. After all, the troubled receiver has proven to be talented in two seasons.
Blackmon has 29 receptions for 415 yards and a touchdown this year. He has 93 catches for 1,280 yards and six scores in 20 games — all since Jacksonville traded up to select the former Oklahoma State star with the fifth overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft.
Blackmon credited his four-game suspension for his success this season, saying he used the time away to get in better shape.
He also acknowledged last month that his reputation was still a work in progress.
“I just don’t really care about people on the outside,” Blackmon said. “I don’t care what they got to say. I don’t really care how they view me because they don’t try to know me. They won’t ever know me, so that’s not important to me. They can feel however they want to feel. I don’t really care about that.
“All I can do is control what I can control, and that’s showing up here, trying to get better every day and carrying that out there on the field.”
Blackmon has been involved in three substance-related incidents in three years. He was arrested on a misdemeanor DUI charge in Texas in 2010 after officers caught him speeding on a suburban Dallas highway. The charge was later reduced to an underage alcohol possession charge. A little more than a month after the Jaguars drafted him, he was arrested during a traffic stop in Stillwater, Okla., after a breath test allegedly showed his blood alcohol content to be three times the legal limit.
A subsequent violation landed him the four-game suspension.