Is Justin Blackmon the next Jimmy Smith?


Dec 23, 2012; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon (14) warms up before the start of the game against the New England Patriots at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Smith was an amazing athlete. He’s the all time leader in receptions for the Jaguars, led the team in receptions for 9 straight seasons to be exact, and was voted to the Pro Bowl five times. More importantly, he’s one of my favorite Jaguars of all time. But with all those acollades, he had a problem. Many problems actually. And they all started with a problem of making bad decisions. Decisions that led to multiple run ins with the law.

I thought Justin Blackmon was a pipe dream prior to the 2012 NFL Draft. He was electrifying to watch in college and I felt he’d be long gone by the time the Jags were on the clock. He was the consensus #1 wideout by a long shot. His only red flag was a DUI he got while in college. Just a bad decision, right? Then in June of last year he received another DUI. Another “bad decision” that led to a delayed signing by the Jaguars, as they had to protect themselves by creating a safety net contract. Then, just days after the 2013 draft, another bad decision led to Blackmon being suspended for four games to start the season. Are you seeing the trend here?

Blackmon recently stated he doesn’t feel he has a substance abuse problem. But his track record might say otherwise. As the 2013 season begins, Justin Blackmon will start the season on suspension for violating the league policy on substance abuse, at the same time  Jimmy Smith will be serving a 6 year sentence for drug possession and firearms charges. Although I do hope that Blackmon is like Smith on the field, I can only hope he’s the furthest thing from him off the field. Despite a prolific NFL career, Jimmy Smith will primarily be remembered for his bad decisions that led to his demise. So take note Mr. Blackmon and try to learn from the mistakes of a former Jaguar great.

– Jason Abarca