Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon hasn’t appeared in a regular season NFL game since October of 2013, and general manager Dave Caldwell has had no contact with the suspended wideout. According to Mike DiRocco of ESPN.com, Caldwell indicated that the Jaguars believe Blackmon’s extended absence from the NFL likely spells the end of his playing career.
“I have not heard anything and I guess I harbor a little bit of hope but realistically I think when you’re away from the game for two-and-a-half years what you were once is not what you probably will be,” Caldwell said. “Your skills do erode and especially if you’re not staying in tip-top shape and you’re not in football shape. … I don’t know [what] to expect, but I would say common sense would probably be if you haven’t played football in two-and-a-half years apparently that’s not a priority for you.”
Blackmon was suspended indefinitely in 2013 for repeated violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, and would have to apply for reinstatement and go through a lengthy vetting process before having the opportunity to get back on the field. The former fifth overall pick has been arrested on drug charges since being suspended, and completed a voluntary rehab program. However, there’s been no indication that he’s on his way back to the field anytime soon.
Despite their pessimism about Blackmon’s NFL future, the Jaguars will continue to keep the 25-year-old on their roster, on the reserve/suspended list. As Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union explains (via Twitter), the Jags hope to recoup some of the receiver’s signing bonus, which wouldn’t be possible if they release him.
Blackmon’s service-time clock remains on hold during his suspension, so if he were to ever return to the Jaguars, he’d still be under contract with the team for multiple seasons.