JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jaguars general manager David Caldwell has said the team is planning to not have suspended receiver Justin Blackmon for 2014 and there was finally some concrete evidence of that on Tuesday.
The third-year receiver no longer has a locker in the Jaguars' locker room. Quarterback Stephen Morris, whom the team signed on Monday as an undrafted free agent, is occupying the locker that Blackmon used during his first two seasons.
Blackmon kept his locker during the second half of the 2013 season despite being suspended indefinitely after Week 8 because of a third violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, but the team needed it this week because the roster expands to 90 with the addition of the nine draft picks and 17 undrafted free agents.
Blackmon, the fifth overall pick in 2012, was also suspended for the first four games of the 2013 season and caught 29 passes for 415 yards and a touchdown in the next four games. He is eligible to petition the NFL for reinstatement this summer but it’s likely he’ll have to serve at least another eight-game suspension.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan said he's disturbed by what is happening with Blackmon.
"I think it's an absolute tragedy," Khan said. "... I think he’s such a talented guy. The best years [are] ahead of him but after a while it’s out of your control."
Khan said that while the contact between Blackmon and the team is restricted by NFL rules, he hopes Blackmon takes advantage of the help available.
"The league, the players association, there’s a huge amount of resources," Khan said. "Please take advantage of it. If you’re a player it’s like all of this stuff is being offered to you. Take advantage of it. I think NFL players are so lucky from the viewpoint all these resources that are available to them."