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Berry Tramel

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Oklahoma State football: Justin Blackmon's career in jeopardy

by Berry Tramel Modified: May 1, 2013 at 12:35 am •  Published: April 30, 2013

Justin Blackmon has jeopardized his NFL career. No other conclusion can be drawn after the former OSU star, now with the Jacksonville Jaguars, was suspended four games by the NFL for violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy. You can read Gina Mizell’s story here.

Blackmon in 2010 was arrested in Texas on a misdemeanor DUI charge and a few weeks after the 2012 NFL Draft was arrested in Stillwater after a breath test allegedly showed his blood alcohol content to be three times the legal limit. Now this. And the Jags’ front office is not pleased.

“We know that we’re not going to have 53 angelic players,” said Jacksonville general manager Dave Caldwell said. “But there’s no excuse for not doing the right thing. These guys were young guys in college; now they’re professionals, they’re a reflection of the Jacksonville Jaguars and our community here, and we don’t take this thing lightly.”

The Jaguars are embarrassed because they traded up to take Blackmon with the overall No. 5 pick, despite concerns about Blackmon’s character because of the 2010 arrest. The Jags were really peeved after the 2012 arrest, leading to a Blackmon contract that wiped out guaranteed money should Blackmon encounter further off-field trouble. And sure enough, that clause now is in effect. Blackmon could forfeit as much as $10 million in guaranteed money.

Blackmon has a couple of things going for him. He proved to be a valuable receiver as a rookie. Not necessarily a star just yet, but promising, with 64 catches, 865 yards and five touchdowns.

And his draft slot. While going No. 5 overall places a lot of pressure on a player, it also provides a decent amount of protection. The money the Jags have invested in Blackmon makes it more likely the Jags will give Blackmon more chances. And franchises are loathe to give up on a high draft pick so soon after the draft, else it fosters the impression the front office doesn’t know what it’s doing.

But Blackmon also isn’t Randy Moss. He has yet to prove he’s a difference-maker. Men who run NFL franchises don’t like to be embarrassed. Justin Blackmon is starting to run out of chances.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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