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Justin Blackmon’s Career Was Over Before It Got Started

Justin Blackmon was thought to be a star. Now he is a distant memory in the NFL. (photo courtesy of www.atlantablackstar.com)

Justin Blackmon was thought to be a star. Now he is a distant memory in the NFL. (photo courtesy of http://www.atlantablackstar.com)

Justin Blackmon was one of the best prospects in the 2012 NFL Draft. He was a fast and powerful receiver who made great things happen when he got his hands on the ball. He was a two-time All-American and also a two-time Fred Biletnikoff Award winner at Oklahoma State and many wanted his services. And when he landed as the 5th overall pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars, many thought he was set to blossom as a star receiver. But unfortunately, his career never turned out to be what some thought it would have. He never played a full season in the NFL. In fact, he played parts of two seasons before he was placed on indefinite suspension from the league following a DUI related arrest while in the NFL’s substance abuse program. That suspension was dropped in Week 8 of the 2013 season. And Blackmon has not touched a football ever since. According to his attorney, he completed a voluntary drug program in 2014 and hopefully at this point, he is getting himself together off the field. But as it stands, Blackmon has been suspended indefinitely for 21 months and according to the general manager of the Jacksonville Jaguars, David Caldwell, it does not look like he will be coming back to the NFL anytime soon. Caldwell apparently has not had any contract with him and does not know what kind of shape he is in. And with that, the career of a talented player is now reduced to nothing just like that.

Blackmon is a fixture for the Jaguars at this point on their reserved/suspended list. His contract has two and a half years left (contract is paused while he is on reserve/suspension list) on it and it seems as if Caldwell is holding out a small glimmer of hope for Blackmon. But as time goes by, a comeback becomes more and more unlikely. And even if he was going to come back, he would have to apply for reinstatement and go through a two-month vetting process to even be considered for the league again. All these signs point to a career that was ruined by outside influences. Blackmon, unfortunately, had some demons that he had to battle. And over his sample-size of time in the NFL, he just could not conquer them at all. And now he sits without the NFL and with the life he has left for himself. Gone are the cheers for touchdowns and up next are the cheers for him to get better. The ball is in his court as to what he chooses to do and when.

The next step for Blackmon is not trying to get back on the field. Playing in the NFL is something that should come secondary to his health. And apparently, he had been neglecting his health for some time. Of course many will not consider his issues a health issue, but considering what chances he took to keep up a habit, it is definitely a health issue. He willingly put himself in harm’s way when drinking and driving. He was even arrested one time at a traffic stop in Stillwater, Oklahoma and found to have a blood alcohol level of three times the legal limit. And he also put his career at risk time and time again to support the habit he had. Hopefully by this time in his life, he is getting the help he needs to battle the issues he has had. He is still a young man with his whole life ahead of him, no matter what mistakes he has made. And if he truly wants to make a difference in this world, he has to get healthy and focus on his personal growth first and foremost.

Blackmon will continue to be a case of what can happen if you risk it all over and over again at any cost. But for the NFL, he could also be a source of knowledge if he wants to be. The NFL has a rookie symposium every single year and provided he can get himself together and get his health in order, he would be an ideal candidate to speak to the young men just entering the NFL. So instead of having the impact he thought he would have on the field, he could have that same impact off of it. But for the immediate future, hopefully he is working on himself and making himself better instead of spiraling more downhill. Blackmon still has something to give somewhere, it just may not be on the football field on Sundays.

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