Jaguars: Suspended receiver Justin Blackmon 'doing very well' in voluntary treatment program



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JACKSONVILLE, Florida — Suspended Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon has voluntarily checked into a treatment facility and seems to be doing well.

Coach Gus Bradley told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the former Oklahoma State star and 2012 first-round NFL draft pick "is doing very well and he's learning a lot." Bradley said he is getting updates from Blackmon's agent, who is Todd France.

"He's healing and taking time for himself," Bradley said. "The great thing is he has chosen this for himself. It's awesome to hear about."

Blackmon is checked into a 90-day program at an undisclosed location, Bradley said, and has completed nearly half of his commitment.

"It's a voluntary program he has chosen to do," Bradley said.

Blackmon was suspended without pay in November for repeated violations of the league's substance-abuse policy. He was previously suspended the first four games of last season for violating the policy. He played four games before getting suspended again — at least for a year.

NFL rules prohibit coaches and general managers from having contact with players suspended indefinitely.

The Jaguars made it clear in May that they had lost contact with Blackmon. His NFL future looked even bleaker following his latest arrest July 23. Blackmon was arrested in the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond on a complaint of marijuana possession.

Owner Shad Khan said the next day that Blackmon would remain on the roster.

"I think it's very important for him to get the help," Khan said. "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."

Even before Blackmon's latest off-the-field issue, the Jaguars had decided to move on without him.

They selected receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson in the second round of May's NFL draft. They also seemingly hit on undrafted rookie Allen Hurns, who has 12 catches for 254 yards and three touchdowns in four games.

Blackmon's decision to seek help — he told reporters repeatedly that he didn't have a substance-abuse problem — could be the first step in a possible return to the league.

He caught 29 passes for 415 yards and a touchdown in the four games he played last season and was the team's leading receiver during that stretch. He has 93 catches for 1,280 yards and six scores in 20 career games.

But his problems have overshadowed his play.

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 traded up to draft him fifth overall, 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 July's traffic stop that led to the marijuana possession charge.


AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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