Jacksonville Jaguars second year wide receiver Justin Blackmon finds himself suspended for the second time this season, again for violating the National Football League’s substance abuse policy. The indefinite suspension without pay showcases the fact that the ultra-talented wideout has a lot of growing up to do if he wants to make a successful career out of football.
No stranger to substance abuse related violations, Blackmon already began the 2013 campaign with a four game suspension for a similar violation.
The league announced the suspension Friday and said that Blackmon will be eligible for reinstatement before the start of the 2014 season.
So far Blackmon has shown that he can be a force on the field, displaying the talent that made the Jacksonville Jaguars trade up to select the former Oklahoma State product with the fifth overall choice in the 2012 draft.
His rookie season was a thing of beauty for a rookie wide receiver, he logged 64 receptions for 865 yards and five touchdowns while showing off the big play ability that made him such a highly touted prospect coming out of college.
His sophomore campaign was beginning just as effective as his rookie year, Blackmon was averaging over 100 yards a game. Despite playing in just four games after the initial suspension, he rallied 415 yards with a touchdown in limited action.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are a team desperately needing a bright spot. They are a dismal 0-8 on the year, and have struggled mightily to put up points. A superstar in the making, Blackmon is someone Jacksonville desperately needs to find the maturity necessary for sustained NFL success.
After the announcement of his suspension, Blackmon released the following statement on the suspension through his agent:
“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. 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.”
Jaguars management stated that they would love to see him back on the field next year in Jacksonville, but that they care more about his personal well-being and want him to overcome the personal issues that have been holding back his career thus far.
If he is able to come back from his suspension with a new-found sense of maturity, Blackmon certainly has the talent to be a superstar and cornerstone of a rebuilding roster. A silver lining for the Jaguars is that Blackmon will at least have his physical health heading into next season. Should the maturity follow, Blackmon certainly has the talent to help the Jags quickly become competitive with a few new pieces to compliment him.