Suspended WR Blackmon arrested on drug complaint

By Scott Johnson, General assignment reporter, sjohnson@wjxt.com
Associated Press
Published On: Aug 06 2014 11:22:47 AM EDT
Updated On: Jul 25 2014 12:02:45 AM EDT

VIDEO: Yesterday the former star wide receiver Justin Blackmon was arrested by Police in Edmond, Oklahoma for possession of marijuana.
The question many fans have asked is why would a high draft pick NFL player jeopardize a chance to return to the league that would readily pay him millions of dollars.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The Jacksonville Jaguars have no plans to part ways with troubled receiver Justin Blackmon.

Owner Shad Khan made it clear Thursday that Blackmon will remain on the roster despite his latest arrest.

"We want to keep him as a player," Khan said following a charity kickoff luncheon at EverBank Field. "He's not part of the team, obviously. But I think it's very important for him to get the help. I think that's the most important thing. ... I think it's good for him and good for us. We want him to get the help and really beat this."

A former standout at Oklahoma State, Blackmon was arrested Wednesday in the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond on a complaint of marijuana possession. Police said they noticed his sedan go around stopped traffic in an attempt to get into a turn lane.

Police spokeswoman Jenny Monroe said an officer detected a "heavy smell of marijuana" coming from the 2007 Chrysler Blackmon was driving, and that Blackmon admitted he had smoked "a blunt" while driving and had another in his vehicle.

Blackmon was arrested and booked into the Edmond jail, where he posted $657 bond Thursday morning.

"It's unfortunate news," Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said. "We have not had much contact with him. Right now, all I can say is I'm just praying that he can get the help that he needs."

Blackmon was suspended without pay indefinitely last November for repeated violations of the NFL's substance-abuse policy. The Jaguars have been reluctant to cut the fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft.

“There's no downside to keeping Blackmon on the roster,” News4Jax Sports Director Sam Kouvaris said. “They don't owe him any money. He's not taking a roster spot. He's suspended. Technically, he's the Jaguars' property.”

Being suspended indefinitely essentially pauses an NFL player's contract, so Blackmon still owes the Jaguars two-and-a-half years of service if he gets reinstated.

"I know our policy right now, I believe, is it's not putting us in a difficult situation having him still be part of our organization in this capacity," Bradley said. "It's really hard by not having conversations with him. I really don't know how he's doing, where he's at. And then when we receive news like this, it creates more discussion. So I'm sure those will be conversations we'll have (about) the direction we'll go."

Teammates seemed hardly surprised by Blackmon's latest transgression.

"It's just a difficult situation," quarterback Chad Henne said. "It's kind of ongoing. All we can do is pray that he finds a way to get on the right track and save his life."

Added linebacker Paul Posluszny: "This is no longer a football issue. As his teammates, you hope he can do everything he can to get his life squared away. We feel for him and we obviously want the best for him because he's a good kid at heart. We want the best for him. We hope that he can come out of this.

"He's a good guy. He's fighting through some things now and hopefully he's able to fix that and get his life back on the right."

News4Jax talked to a mental health expert Thursday who said Blackmon's behavior appears to be a classic case of an addict who won't get the help he needs to get his life on track.

“(Addiction) is a cruel disease. It's sort of like cancer,” said Dr. Lynn Wadelton, a clinical psychologist. “Some people do well with cancer treatment and don't have to go back for more treatment, and other people relapse. But it frequently is a disease of relapse.”

Wadelton said with addiction sometimes people will jeopardize everything they hold dear -- even a chance at millions of dollars -- unless they get serious about overcoming an addiction.

“When people have experienced success and when they have been good at what they do, sometimes they expect that their success with the rest of their life's going to be as easy,” Wadelton said. “So sometimes they'll resist the work that it takes to get sober and stay sober because they think, 'I got this.'”

Blackmon was suspended the first four games of last year for violating the league's drug policy. He played four games before getting suspended again -- at least for a year.

NFL rules prohibit the team from having any contact with Blackmon -- aside from texts -- during his suspension.

Kouvaris said it's uncommon for an NFL athlete to beat addiction and make it back.

“There are very few, but there are some examples of guys who have turned their lives around and been able to come back and make a difference,” Kouvaris said.

Kouvaris said at a minimum Blackmon would have to get involved in some sort of substance abuse program to even have a chance of making it back to the NFL.

With Blackmon's uncertain future, the Jaguars drafted receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson in the second round of May's NFL draft. Both could get on the field right away, especially with fellow receiver Ace Sanders suspended the first four games of the season for violation of the league's drug policy.

Blackmon has been involved in numerous substance-related incidents over the last four years.

He was arrested on a misdemeanor DUI charge in Texas in 2010 after officers caught him speeding on a suburban Dallas highway. The charge was later reduced to an underage alcohol possession charge. A little more than a month after the Jaguars drafted him, he was arrested during a traffic stop in Stillwater, Oklahoma, after a breath test allegedly showed his blood-alcohol content to be three times the legal limit. That landed him in the league's substance-abuse program.

A subsequent violation landed him the four-game suspension. Another one got him the indefinite suspension.

And then there was Wednesday's alleged marijuana possession.

"We knew he needed help," Khan said. "I know there are great resources the league has. We want him to get help. Hopefully he'll be doing that."

Blackmon caught 29 passes for 415 yards and a touchdown in the four games he played last season. He was the team's leading receiver during that stretch.

While Blackmon sat out the first four games, the Jaguars averaged 224 yards of total offense. In the four games he played, Jacksonville hiked its offensive output to just over 350 yards per game.

He has 93 catches for 1,280 yards and six scores in 20 games.

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