The NFL has suspended Jacksonville's Justin Blackmon four games for a substance abuse violation.
By BRIAN DE LOS SANTOS FS Florida
Jacksonville Jaguars receiver
Justin Blackmon has been suspended for the first four games of the 2013 season for violation of the NFL policy on substance abuse, the league announced Tuesday.
"I’ve made a mistake and I have no excuse," Blackmon said via a Jaguars press release. "I am truly sorry and disappointed in myself for putting the Jaguars in this situation, and I look forward to putting this behind me and maturing and growing as a person.
"I will have a productive training camp and preseason with my team, and during the suspension I will work hard to stay in top football shape and be ready to help the Jaguars when I return. 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."
Blackmon's suspension will not begin until the end of the preseason. He is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games.
He will not be paid during the suspension -- a loss of $289,754. The suspension also triggered language in his contract that voids nearly $10 million in future guarantees.
He will be eligible to return to Jacksonville's active roster on Sept. 30, but prior to that he will miss home game against the Chiefs and Colts and road games at the Raiders and Seahawks.
“Coach (Gus) Bradley and I have spoken with Justin, and he is well aware of our disappointment," said general manager David Caldwell. "I don’t think there is any question that Justin is embarrassed and remorseful, and coach Bradley and I are both confident he understands the obligations ahead of him, to himself, the franchise and the fans.
"We will support him throughout the process and continue to work to educate him and all of our players on making the right decisions. The Jaguars have made a lot of progress over the past three months, and we will not allow this news to slow us down.”
While the substance that caused Blackmon to violate the NFL policy wasn't announced, he has dealt with issues relating to alcohol in the past.
He was arrested last June for DUI in Oklahoma, just weeks after the Jaguars had used their first-round pick on the Oklahoma State receiver. He pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay a $500 fine and $100 to a drug abuse and treatment fund in addition to courts costs. He also had to complete 50 hours of community service by Jan. 24, 2013.
In 2010 he was arrested on a DUI charge in Texas, but it was later reduced to underage alcohol possession.
Blackmon had a difficult start to his rookie season, but came on in the second half, including a seven catch, 236-yard effort at Houston on Nov. 18. He finished with 64 receptions for 865 yards and five touchdowns.