Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon was suspended on Tuesday for the first four games of the 2013 season after his second violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
It is unclear what substance Blackmon tested positive for, but this is his second violation in less than a year since he was drafted last April.
His first violation came when he was arrested during a traffic stop in Stillwater, Okla., after a breath test allegedly revealed that his blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit. His arrest landed him in the NFL’s substance-abuse program.
“It’s very disappointing,” general manager Dave Caldwell said during a conference call with reporters. “We understand that this isn’t all going to be an upward trend and we’re going to have setbacks. To be honest with you, things like this are frustrating because it’s an avoidable situation. That’s what’s real concerning and frustrating.”
What’s more frustrating is that Blackmon will not be paid for the four-week suspension. And more importantly, his suspension may have triggered harsher repercussions in his contract that can void future guarantees.
The Jaguars can cut him without having to pay out $10 million that remains on a four-year, $18.5 million contract, according to ESPN.com.
“I’ve made a mistake and I have no excuse,” Blackmon said in a statement on Tuesday. “… I have chosen to be accountable for my poor decision, and I sincerely apologize to my teammates, coaches, the front office and Jaguars fans for the impact of my mistake on the team.”
Caldwell acknowledged that the Jaguars organization is willing to help and support Blackmon, but there is only so much the team can do to help players under the new collective bargaining agreement.
“At some point in time, these players have to help themselves and take care of themselves,” Caldwell said.
Blackmon, who caught 64 passes for 865 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie, will not be allowed to practice or play during the suspension. However, he will be allowed to attend meetings and enter the facility. Blackmon will be eligible to return on Sept. 30.