Justin Blackmon, general manager Gene Smith, and head coach Mike Mularkey held a press conference to address Blackmon’s aggravated DUI arrest in Oklahoma that occurred on Sunday. It was a humbling moment for a franchise that puts an emphasis on high character and for a receiver whose every action will probably be documented by a very supportive fan base eager for a receiver to replace Jimmy Smith and return the Jaguars to glory.
Gene Smith reinforced the need to do proper research on draft prospects. Blackmon was the 5th selection in the 2012 draft. After a similar incident in 2010, the Jaguars thought that Blackmon has only had an isolated incident.
Blackmon said he didn’t have a drinking problem but said he was “done drinking” for now. While that wasn’t specified in his statement, Blackmon will probably focus more on responsible behavior. Like his time before the draft, Blackmon appeared genuinely apologetic about his actions. While a suspension is still a possibility, it appears that the action may come from the NFL rather than the Jaguars.
An emphasis was put on creating a roster that is filled with good guys. 89 of 90 players did the right thing over the weekend, according to Smith. Just one player, Blackmon didn’t make the right decisions.
If Blackmon can rebound from this incident and hone his receiving skills, he could join many other “troubled” receivers like Cris Carter, the Jags’ own Jimmy Smith, and Randy Moss in being a difference maker on the football field and in people’s lives. As our own Dave Johns pointed out in his recent article, it’s rare that the best receivers are flawless individuals.
Jaguar great Fred Taylor has reportedly reached out to Blackmon. While no formal mentorship has been established, the guidance of veteran players can have a profound impact on players just entering the league as they learn how to transition their game and their lives to the bigger stage.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims