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Justin Blackmon's life was changed by arrest, suspension

OSU receiver Justin Blackmon has clearly emerged a different person after his DUI arrest and one-game suspension, columnist Jenni Carlson writes.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: December 6, 2010 at 10:29 pm •  Published: December 6, 2010

Watch him play, and you can see it. He mugs for the cameras. He smiles for the fans. He enjoys the game like never before.

Not that Blackmon didn't have fun before, but there's a different pep in his step.

In his first game back, he sprinted across the field to join his teammates and sing the alma mater after they beat Baylor. He tossed aside his helmet. He skipped over to his place in line.

He was smiling all the way.

He was the first to leap onto the wall and celebrate with the fans when the song was over.

Blackmon is enjoying every moment so much that he wouldn't even let a severely sprained ankle keep him from Bedlam. The former Plainview High star let OSU trainers know that he intended to play, and they did their darnedest to get him healed.

But they couldn't take away all of the pain. Blackmon limped to the sideline after almost every catch. He'd limp. He'd wince. Eventually, though, he'd be back out there.

How bad was it?

“It was a lot of pain,” he said.

He smiled sheepishly.

“With the adrenaline and everything that was going, I'm sure I wasn't feeling all the pain, but there was a lot of pain that I was feeling.”

Blackmon didn't care. He gritted it out, catching eight passes for 105 yards and one touchdown.

After what he's been through, he doesn't want to miss any more games.

Truth be told, I'd be shocked to see Blackmon ever get in trouble and be suspended ever again.

That, too, might seem like hyperbole, but watch him play and listen to him talk, and you see that it isn't. Blackmon understands what it feels like to have the game taken away because of his own mistake, knows how it hurts worse because it's a self-inflicted injury. He also knows how to avoid feeling that way ever again.

Blackmon gets it.

He might've acted like a knucklehead the night of his arrest, but he sure isn't anymore.