It’s early in the process and there is still a long way to go, but the fact that Justin Blackmon has voluntarily entered a treatment facility is a good sign that the troubled receiver may finally be turning his life around.
That should make the Jacksonville Jaguars cautiously optimistic that there’s a chance he could one day be back on the field.
Since Blackmon is currently serving an indefinite suspension for his third violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse program, he isn’t being paid and doesn’t count against the salary cap or roster limit. His contract is essentially paused, meaning he still owes the team 2 1/2 years of service if he were to ever return. Plus, if the Jaguars did cut him they would have been unable to recover any bonus money they have already paid.
The Jaguars have elected not to cut Blackmon despite his transgressions, and the article explains why. He still has a long road back to the NFL, but there are positive signs.
Thursday, July 31, 2014, 1:02pm
Jaguars writer John Oehser was asked to compare the team's rookie wideouts to Justin Blackmon: "Allen Robinson has performed very well during training camp, though he missed much of OTAs. The same can be said of Marqise Lee. That rookie duo has been very impressive through the first week of camp, but it’s honestly difficult to compare either player to Blackmon. What struck you about Blackmon immediately was the size of his hands, his body control and his ability to catch anything thrown his way. Robinson’s body control and his ability to adjust to the ball in the air are what you notice about him; with Lee, it’s remarkable quickness and the ability to create space and run after the catch. It’s probably not right to say either has quite the natural ability as Blackmon, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be better players."
Monday, July 28, 2014, 4:35pm
Jaguars WRs Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson have stood out during the first few days of Jacksonville's training camp — and not just because they're running with the first-team offense. Lee's speed and athleticism have provided several highlights, and Robinson's size and sure hands have been equally impressive.
"Both of them are coming along and making big plays out there," quarterback Chad Henne said.
Justin Blackmon, the Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver under indefinite NFL suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, was arrested Wednesday night in Edmond, Okla., for alleged marijuana possession and a driving violation, according to the Edmond police department.
"He did go ahead and admit that there was marijuana in the vehicle," said Jenny Monroe, public information officer for the Edmond police. " … Mr. Blackmon said he had been smoking a blunt marijuana (marijuana cigar) while he was driving and that there was another full blunt within the car in a box, and that's exactly what our officer's found in the vehicle."
It doesn't look like Blackmon will return to the NFL anytime soon, if ever.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 10:58am
Why don’t people know more about Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon's situation? The answer is that the league and teams take privacy with suspended players very seriously. So, while most things involving the NFL are publicized to the point that fans feel a right to know everything, information about suspended players is one area where that’s not going to happen. What is known about Blackmon is he’s unlikely to play for the Jaguars next season. When more is known, it will be known.
Fantasy owners shouldn't count on Blackmon playing this year -- it's looking like a real long shot at this point.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday morning that the Jags are open to taking back Blackmon and playing him if the NFL reinstates him this season, according to a source with knowledge of the team's plans.
This is not a huge surprise. Blackmon is a very good receiver (64.0 yards per game in his first 20 career games) and if he can get his head on straight, he could go on to have a very good career. His salary is minimal, so the Jaguars are wise to see how this plays out.
Assuming Browns WR Josh Gordon is found to have tested positive in the NFL’s substance-abuse program (which ESPN reported Friday), he’ll likely be banned for somewhere between eight and 16 games. Gordon, 23, has been disciplined twice previously for testing positive: once by coach Art Briles at Baylor, and once by the NFL last summer, causing him to be suspended for the first two games of the season. Playing 14 games, he still led the league in receiving yards last year and was the first receiver in history to have back-to-back 200-yard receiving games, in weeks 12 and 13.
But now he could be more problem than he’s worth, the same way the immensely talented Justin Blackmon is turning out in Jacksonville. The Browns are trying to establish a winning program, and if they can’t trust their best player, which Gordon clearly is, they’re going to have a tough decision on their hands if and when he’s suspended, and when he returns. Gordon has two years left on his rookie contract. How can the Browns possibly know what to pay him in a second contract, having no idea if they can trust him from one week to the next? If Gordon did test positive, and knowing that a monster contract would likely be coming at the end of this season if he could stay clean, it’s either a measure of the depth of his problem or a measure of his immaturity. Or both.
Gordon will appeal the suspension since his last run-in with the substance abuse program was due to a codeine-based cough syrup (or so he claims), so the argument is that he should have been in Stage 2 of the program instead of Stage 3. Gordon's availability will have a huge impact on the WR landscape as well as Johnny Manziel's potential in his rookie season.
"I think we've covered that," Caldwell said. "We've moved on for this year."
When asked if he would cut Blackmon, Caldwell said:
"We can't [cut him]. If that even happens."
HC Gus Bradley also stated his disappointment in the situation.
"I feel at times there's probably a little emptiness," Bradley said. "There are some unknowns there and you don't know how it's working. You don't want to shut it off. I was hoping it would be better than where it is going. We haven't heard much and it doesn't sound like it's going in the right direction. Like Dave said, we can't count on him."
The Jaguars seem to have moved on from Blackmon after drafting two receivers - Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson -- in the second round of the Draft. They'll join Cecil Shorts, Ace Sanders and Mike Brown to form a young but talented receiving corps. It may not come together quickly, but if Blake Bortles is the real deal, the Jaguars' passing game should be much improved in 1-2 seasons.
Bortles is not a shoo-in to start immediately, but he only has to beat out Chad Henne for the job. If he performs well in practice this summer, look for Bortles to start Week 1. No Jaguar QB is going to be much of a fantasy option unless the team upgrades at receiver and/or gets Justin Blackmon back in the lineup.
Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts had two hamstring injuries as a rookie that cost him six total games. In 2012, Shorts missed the final two games with a concussion. Shorts was unavailable for the final three games last season with a groin injury that required surgery.
“The biggest thing for me when it comes to [a new deal] is remaining healthy and being durable for a season,” Shorts said. “Being able to show my talents consistently throughout the year.”
Shorts still isn’t at full strength from the surgery, but expects to be soon.
“I’m on the right path where I’m able to run without any pain,” Shorts said. “I still have some work to do and I’m not 100 percent yet, but I’m looking to get there soon. Now, I have to get my strength back and confidence back.”
Shorts was the #22 WR in 2012 before slipping to #46 last season. His draft day value will depend on the status of Justin Blackmon and whether the Jaguars draft a QB early next month. He is currently the #40 receiver off the board in the 9th round and may be a good value there if the situation variables break his way.
Saturday, March 15, 2014, 11:14am
The Florida Highway Patrol report said Blackmon was not injured, was wearing a seat belt and alcohol was not involved.
The report said Blackmon’s 2009 Denali was traveling south on I-295 when the right rear tire blew out – the car left the road and collided into a guard-rail.
Receiver Justin Blackmon missed 12 of the Jaguars’ 16 games because of two suspensions for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. When Blackmon is reinstated, owner Shad Khan “absolutely” wants him to remain with the team.
There's no doubt that Blackmon has talent. In his last 17 games (which don't include his slow start in his rookie season), he has averaged 5.2 catches for 74 yards and 0.35 TD, which are low-end fantasy WR2 numbers In four games last season, he averaged 7.3-104-.25, which are low-end WR1 numbers -- and that's with Chad Henne/Blaine Gabbert throwing the ball. If he can get his head on straight and the Jaguars can upgrade their QB, Blackmon will be a star. He'd be a high risk pick if he's reinstated in time to play in 2014.
Friday, November 8, 2013, 6:22pm
Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts (groin, probable) returned to take limited reps Friday after missing practice earlier in the week and is probable for Week 10. Shorts is in line for a ton of targets with Justin Blackmon suspended for the season, but has a rough matchup with the Titans this week.
Thursday, November 7, 2013, 6:19pm
Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts (groin) missed practice again Thursday. Shorts should be able to play through the injury as he has in recent weeks. He is in line for a ton of targets with Justin Blackmon suspended for the season, but has a rough matchup with the Titans this week.
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