This is not the first time the Jaguars organization has dealt with problems at the wide receiver position.
It just so happens they have never had to deal with a player as talented as Justin Blackmon.
As a fan, I am so disappointed. This is the one kid who we talked about just last week on the radio (1010XL AM and 92.5 FM here in Jacksonville) that you could build this franchise around.
He was the player who we all talked about that maybe the light went on in his head and he got the message being out the first four games of the season.
Instead, the kid who came out in the Rams game and caught fire (14 catches and 190 yards) just let us down again.
It’s becoming a growing sentiment in the NFL not to get too attached to the players we enjoy watching - some of them will let us down in a huge way. Justin Blackmon not only let down the writer who is punching out these words - he let down the fan who wanted him to succeed.
I’ve been through them all - receivers who had issues for whatever reason. Andre Rison had a behavior issue. Jimmy Smith, substance abuse. R. Jay Soward could not seem to make it to practice or camp on time. Drugs were his vice and even an escort to camp and practice could not change his ways. Reggie Williams liked the green stuff too. Matt Jones more of the harder drugs. Jerry Porter was just all wrong for this place. And then, there is our latest failure, Blackmon.
Early on, football players are given praise, friends, women, handlers, money and a lot of free time on their hands. A “child” at 23 has no idea what to do in life. The streets and the time are their playgrounds and they use it to their advantage. I am not saying that all rookies and neophytes in the NFL are like that, but I am saying they are all exposed to it like a plague. And to make matters worse, this is another black eye for a franchise that did not need more public humility.
The media will have a circus with this and has already begun the comments, the editorials, the chants for his ouster. Social media has allowed fans and my friends to speak about how they want him released, what an ass he is and how the team should just give up on him.
I am not sure how I feel yet. I was pretty outspoken over the offseason about Maurice Jones-Drew and his alleged nightclub incident. I was also outspoken in the fact MJD thought the violation of the substance abuse problem by Blackmon - leading to his second suspension - was no big deal because of hIis age and the fact he thought the media was hounding the second-year player too much.
I wonder how the “leader” of this team feels now. I wonder how head coach Gus Bradley feels now. I wonder how Cecil Shorts feels now. And more importantly, after a vote of confidence of his coach and general manager, David Caldwell, I wonder how team owner Shad Khan feels.
I know how I feel, without true judgment and a sense of disgust. It is hard to be a writer and talk about someone you watched from the sideline from the first day of OTAs until now and not be a little pissed off. It is hard to be a fan and not want to see him cut or some player (Jason Babin) get in his face. And it is very hard that after a third “letter” of apology, there is true contrition in the words he said or were written for him.
More importantly, I know this is not the kind of thing the Jaguars needed on their off week or any week in general. It is just another black eye on a team that has suffered enough.
Blackmon just exacerbated the situation. Even on an off week, the Jaguars still lost something.