Jacksonville Jaguars GM David Caldwell shared the blunt reality of wide receiver Justin Blackmon’s future at training camp on Tuesday.
When discussing the former No. 5 overall pick who was suspended indefinitely in Week 8 of 2013 for a third violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, Caldwell told reporters that he hasn’t heard from Blackmon in 21 months.
Additionally, Caldwell said he thinks Blackmon’s NFL career is probably over:
“I have not heard anything and I guess I harbour a little bit of hope, but realistically, I think when you’re away from the game for two-and-a-half years what you were once is not what you probably will be. Your skills do erode and especially if you’re not staying in tip-top shape and you’re not in football shape.
“I don’t know to expect, but I would say common sense would probably be if you haven’t played football in two-and-a-half years, apparently that’s not a priority for you.”
After a highly successful rookie season in which Blackmon totaled 865 receiving yards and five touchdowns, Blackmon failed an offseason drug test and was suspended for the first four games of the 2013 season. He returned for Weeks 5-8, had 415 receiving yards and one touchdown, but was indefinitely suspended after violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy for the third time.
According to ESPN’s Mike DiRocco, Blackmon would have to apply for reinstatement before going through a “nearly two-month long vetting process before he can hope to get back on the field.”
Blackmon has made over $US12.5 million in his career. Because he’s been on the suspended/non-injured list, the Jaguars haven’t had to pay him and his contract has also been suspended. If he were to even return to the NFL, he would have two-and-a-half years remaining on his deal, according to DiRocco.
Unfortunately for the Jaguars, Blackmon is a massive disappointment. As ProFootball Talk’s Michael David Smith noted, Blackmon twice won the best receiver award in college and was the only receiver to ever win the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year award. In his 20 games of NFL experience, he looked to be one of the most promising receivers in the league.
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