The Jaguars did not need this right now.
Fresh off a great weekend where the team took the NFL by the horns and drafted players who could help this franchise grow, now Jacksonville and its management must decide if they want to continue to invest in one of the best young receivers to come out of college in the past decade.
Forget about wins and losses, this is more a matter of life and death.
On Monday, it was reported that Justin Blackmon suffered a third strike against him in the past 30 months for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Right now, it is not known what substance the receiver, who was arrested on aggravated DUI charges only 11 months ago, took. It also means he will not be able to participate in the team’s first four games of the regular season, hurting his team in the process.
In a statement issued by the NFL on Monday, it was reported that "Justin Blackmon of the Jacksonville Jaguars has been suspended without pay for the team’s first four games of the 2013 regular season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. Blackmon will be eligible to return to the Jaguars’ active roster on Monday, September 30 following the team’s September 29 game against the Indianapolis Colts. Blackmon is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games.”
I personally think the team should cut and run. This is not a black eye this organization should take or suffer through. While the talented Blackmon showed signs of being the best pass catcher to ever wear teal, is the drama and chaos worth the drama?
Blackmon issued a statement on Monday as well, apologizing to the team and the media, still calling the Jaguars his team and the organization he looks to help improve from a 2-14 year in 2012-13.
"I've made a mistake and I have no excuse. I am truly sorry and disappointed in myself for putting the Jaguars in this situation, and I look forward to putting this behind me and maturing and growing as a person. I will have a productive training camp and pre-season with my team, and during the suspension I will work hard to stay in top football shape and be ready to help the Jaguars when I return. I have chosen to be accountable for my poor decision, and I sincerely apologize to my teammates, coaches, the front office and Jaguars fans for the impact of my mistake on the team."
The comments may sound familiar as Blackmon said many of the same things last year after appearing in an Oklahoma courtroom after being arrested for DUI where his blood alcohol level was at .26, well above the legal limit.
Can the Jaguars, who have dealt with substance abuse problems with Matt Jones, Jimmy Smith, TJ Slaughter, R Jay Soward and Reggie Williams in the past, allow a kid to continually violate policy that could not only hurt the franchise, but others in the Jacksonville and NFL community?
It has not been stated yet which substance Blackmon abused or was tested for and failed. The policies of the NFL are put into place to protect the player and the team when violations happen.
In a statement by the team, Jaguars general manager David Caldwell said the franchise was “disappointed” and had spoken to Blackmon at length about the suspension and the situation.
“Coach Bradley and I have spoken with Justin, and he is well aware of our disappointment. I don’t think there is any question that Justin is embarrassed and remorseful, and Coach Bradley and I are both confident he understands the obligations ahead of him, to himself, the franchise and the fans. We will support him throughout the process and continue to work to educate him and all of our players on making the right decisions. The Jaguars have made a lot of progress over the past three months, and we will not allow this news to slow us down."
Now, the team will wait to see if Blackmon works through his issues or the words fall on deaf ears and he is just giving the franchise, the NFL and the fans here in Jacksonville lip service.
The Jaguars drafted Ace Sanders in the fourth round of last week’s NFL Draft and also added Denard Robinson, a quarterback in college who could play both running back and receiver in Jedd Fisch’s offense.
It remains to be seen if the team will look to add another set of hands to the roster before the team goes to training camp over the summer. Receivers Cole McKenzie (Southern Oregon) and Jamal Miles (Arizona State) were signed as undrafted rookie free agents over the weekend.