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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

STILLWATER — Justin Blackmon gets it.

The early morning arrest, the misdemeanor DUI charge, the one-game suspension — all of it has changed his life.

That might sound like hyperbole, but it sure doesn't look that way when he plays. Didn't sound that way either on Monday night when the Oklahoma State superstar wide receiver talked to the media for the first time since those tumultuous October days.

“Sitting out a week,” he said, “you feel what it's like to be away from the team.”

Since a news conference that followed a day after his arrest — a stand-up move not normally seen in the pros, much less at the college level — Blackmon hasn't been allowed to speak to reporters. Team rules prohibit players who've had run-ins with the law from speaking on behalf of the program.

But even now, more than a month after the arrest and the suspension, you can tell how much it impacted him.

“I mean, when you have something taken away, you know how much it means to you,” Blackmon said. “When I didn't get to play that week, it just really set in.”

He realized how much he loved the game, how hard he'd worked to get where he is.

He also realized that he didn't want to be away from it again.

Suspended the Tuesday before the Kansas State game, Blackmon did everything that his teammates did to prepare. He went to practice and sat in meetings. He learned the game plan and watched the film. But when the buses departed on Friday, Blackmon was not on them.

He kept touch with his teammates, sending texts and offering encouragement.

“Just tried to be the best teammate I could be,” he said.

That didn't make that weekend any easier. He watched every minute of the Cowboys' gutsy win over the Wildcats, but even though some friends and his father came over to watch the game with him, those were lonely hours for Blackmon.

He longed to be back on the field.

“Ever since then,” he said, “I've just been happy to be out there.”

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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