Justin Blackmon: Could He Return to Jaguars in 2015?
Now that the NFL is looking into allegations that Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon violated the league’s substance abuse policy again, the fans and media here in Jacksonville are beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel regarding troubled wide receiver Justin Blackmon.
Blackmon, the fifth overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft has been out of action for the past year for violating the same policy with the league. Now, there is a belief the star player could see the field in 2015 and have his suspension reinstated.
According to Mike Wilkening of ProFootballTalk.com, PFT’s Mike Florio has confirmed Gordon is in line for a one-year ban for a violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
A source tells Florio that Gordon tested positive for alcohol. Moreover, a source tells Florio that Gordon’s suspension looks to be a “done deal,” with a reversal of the ban not expected. As Florio notes, Gordon is subject to alcohol testing because of his July 2014 DWI arrest.
The Browns have been fit to be tied with Gordon’s on-field talent and off-field antics. Add to the recipe the antics and less than stellar rookie season of quarterback Johnny Manziel and Cleveland management, the fans and the media have had more to deal with than the 7-9 record the team posted this past season.
The Jaguars have been in a different situation from the start with Blackmon. Fansided is reporting that Blackmon could be on the field in 2015 in Teal and Black.
Blackmon, who wasn’t with the Jaguars for the 2014 season, was dealing with fixing his substance abuse issues after he was arrested for Marijuana possession in his native Oklahoma.
He was initially suspended for the first four games of the 2013 season when he violated the league’s substance abuse policy. Later in the year, he was suspended indefinitely for violating it again.
After missing most of the last two years because of his issues off the field, Blackmon has a chance to get back on and be a difference maker for Jacksonville, which is what they intended for him to be when they drafted him in 2012.
The Jaguars in the meantime made adjustments to their offense and roster in 2014, drafting Blake Bortles and then adding Allen Robinson and Marquise Lee and then went out and signed rookie free agent Allen Hurns. All three figure to be prominent players in the Jaguars offense run by newly hired offensive coordinator Greg Olson.
HOW IT WORKS
Now there is a belief the NFL will look at the Blackmon case and see he has been diligent in his recovery program and his efforts to get back to the NFL, now comes the responsibility on Blackmon’s part to make sure he follows league protocol.
According to Jaguars’ beat writer, Mike DiRocco of ESPN.com, Jaguars general manager David Caldwell said he hoped to hear something from the NFL regarding suspended receiver Justin Blackmon's status for the 2015 season before the NFL draft begins on April 30.
If that is to be the case, the Jaguars need Blackmon to apply for reinstatement sometime within the next five weeks. According to the NFL’s substance abuse policy, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has to make a decision within 60 days of a completed application for reinstatement.
First thing to know: According to the substance-abuse policy, Goodell has the sole discretion to determine if and when a player will be allowed to return. Whether a player adheres to his treatment plan during his suspension is a significant consideration, and a player must meet certain requirements determined by the substance-abuse policy’s medical director as well as other requirements.