JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars have no plans to part ways with troubled receiver Justin Blackmon.
Owner Shad Khan made it clear Thursday that Blackmon will remain on the roster despite his latest arrest.
“We want to keep him as a player,” Khan said following a charity kickoff luncheon at EverBank Stadium. “He’s not part of the team, obviously. But I think it’s very important for him to get the help. I think that’s the most important thing. … I think it’s good for him and good for us. We want him to get the help and really beat this.”
A former standout at Oklahoma State, Blackmon was arrested Wednesday in the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond on a complaint of marijuana possession. Police said they noticed his sedan go around stopped traffic in an attempt to get into a turn lane.
Police spokeswoman Jenny Monroe said an officer detected a “heavy smell of marijuana” coming from the 2007 Chrysler Blackmon was driving, and that Blackmon admitted he had smoked “a blunt” while driving and had another in his vehicle.
Blackmon was arrested and booked into the Edmond jail, where he posted $657 bond Thursday morning.
“It’s unfortunate news,” Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said. “We have not had much contact with him. Right now, all I can say is I’m just praying that he can get the help that he needs.”
Blackmon was suspended without pay indefinitely last November for repeated violations of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. The Jaguars have been reluctant to cut the fifth overall pick in the 2012 draft.
Being suspended indefinitely essentially pauses an NFL player’s contract, so Blackmon still owes the Jaguars two and a half years of service if he gets reinstated.
“I know our policy right now, I believe, is it’s not putting us in a difficult situation having him still be part of our organization in this capacity,” Bradley said. “It’s really hard by not having conversations with him. I really don’t know how he’s doing, where he’s at. And then when we receive news like this, it creates more discussion. So I’m sure those will be conversation we’ll have (about) the direction we’ll go.”
Teammates seemed hardly surprised by Blackmon’s latest transgression.
“It’s just a difficult situation,” quarterback Chad Henne said. “It’s kind of ongoing. All we can do is pray that he finds a way to get on the right track and save his life.”
Added linebacker Paul Posluszny: “This is no longer a football issue. As his teammates, you hope he can do everything he can to get his life squared away. We feel for him and we obviously want the best for him because he’s a good kid at heart. We want the best for him. We hope that he can come out of this.
“He’s a good guy. He’s fighting through some things now and hopefully he’s able to fix that and get his life back on the right.”
Blackmon was suspended the first four games of last year for violating the league’s drug policy. He played four games before getting suspended again — at least for a year.
NFL rules prohibit the team from having any contact with Blackmon — aside from texts — during his suspension.
With Blackmon’s uncertain future, the Jaguars drafted receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson in the second round of May’s NFL draft. Both could get on the field right away, especially with fellow receiver Ace Sanders suspended the first four games of the season for violation the league’s drug policy.
Blackmon has been involved in numerous substance-related incidents over the last four years.
He was arrested on a misdemeanor DUI charge in Texas in 2010 after officers caught him speeding on a suburban Dallas highway. The charge was later reduced to an underage alcohol possession charge. A little more than a month after the Jaguars drafted him, he was arrested during a traffic stop in Stillwater, Oklahoma, after a breath test allegedly showed his blood alcohol content to be three times the legal limit. That landed him in the league’s substance-abuse program.
A subsequent violation landed him the four-game suspension. Another one got him the indefinite suspension.
And then there was Wednesday’s alleged marijuana possession.
“We knew he needed help,” Khan said. “I know there are great resources the league has. We want him to get help. Hopefully he’ll be doing that.”
Blackmon caught 29 passes for 415 yards and a touchdown in the four games he played last season. He was the team’s leading receiver during that stretch.
While Blackmon sat out the first four games, the Jaguars averaged 224 yards of total offense. In the four games he played, Jacksonville hiked its offensive output to just over 350 yards per game.
He has 93 catches for 1,280 yards and six scores in 20 games.
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