Jacksonville simply can’t catch a break. Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon has been suspended four games for reportedly violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Jaguars former first-round pick WR Justin Blackmon is being suspended four games by the NFL, per league sources. More on NFL Live now.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 30, 2013
Ranked as the top player at his position in the 2012 NFL Draft, Jacksonville drafted Blackmon with the hopes that he would mesh with young signal-caller Blaine Gabbert. After a slow start to his career, the former Oklahoma State star caught 24 passes and scored two touchdowns in Jacksonville’s final four games.
He wound up leading the team in receptions with 64 and is considered one of the Jags’ most important pieces (behind star running back Maurice Jones-Drew, of course) as the franchise continues along the long road back towards league respectability.
NFL.com reports that the suspension has been handed down specifically for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.
It further goes on to outline how his suspension affects his status with the team, as well as how it could impact his contract:
For Blackmon, this is a terrible first impression with the new Jaguars regime, including GM David Caldwell. It’s possible the suspension could also jeopardize some of the guarantees in his contract.It’s unclear how Blackmon violated the policy, which remains confidential. It takes repeat offenses to incur a suspension.
With Blackmon out, Gabbert will be looking towards Cecil Shorts, Mohammed Massaquoi, Jordan Shipley, and rookies Ace Sanders and Denard Robinson.
Blackmon had two drunk driving arrests on his record before signing his rookie contract with the team.