Jags have been hurt by WR drug issues

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
12:00
PM ET
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Ace Sanders’ situation is the latest in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ ignominious history of receivers dealing with substance-abuse issues.

Sanders
Sanders, who said Tuesday night that he is facing a four-game suspension for what a source close to the team confirmed was his second violation, is the sixth receiver in team history to have been suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse program. That’s a significantly high number at one position considering the franchise is only entering its 20th season.

Here’s a look at the other five:

Justin Blackmon: The team’s first-round pick in 2012 is currently serving an indefinite suspension for his third violation of the substance abuse program. The NFL announced the suspension during the Jaguars’ bye week in 2013, which came after the team’s 0-8 start. Blackmon was suspended for the first four games of the 2013 season because of his second violation, which occurred sometime in the offseason after his rookie season. Blackmon was arrested in Texas in 2010 on a misdemeanor DUI charge (later reduced to underage alcohol possession) after police officers caught him speeding outside of Dallas. He was arrested again in May 2012 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 arrest put him in the NFL’s substance abuse program. Blackmon has denied that he has a substance abuse problem and said he doesn’t care about the way he’s perceived by the media and fans.

Matt Jones: The Jaguars’ first-round pick in 2005 was arrested in early July 2008 after a police officer in Fayetteville, Arksansas, allegedly saw him inside a parked car cutting up cocaine with a credit card. A search of the car revealed a white substance, which Jones admitted was cocaine, and a jar with possible marijuana residue. He was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance. The NFL suspended Jones for three weeks. Jones appealed, but the NFL upheld the suspension in December and Jones missed the final three games of the season. He still had the best season of his career: 65 catches for 761 yards and two touchdowns. Jones failed a drug and alcohol screening in March 2009, which violated terms of his probation. The Jaguars released him several days later.

Jimmy Smith: The all-time leading receiver in Jaguars history was arrested three times, the first coming in November 2001. He was arrested after a traffic stop and tests later showed he had tested positive for cocaine, but he did not face any charges. He was suspended for the first four games of the 2003 season for violating the league's substance abuse policy. He publicly acknowledged an addiction and spent time in a treatment facility. He abruptly retired in May 2006. Smith was arrested on a DUI charge in 2008 and again in 2009 after drugs, including crack cocaine, were found in his car after a traffic stop. He was sentenced to 18 months probation and again entered a treatment facility. He was arrested in Mississippi in February 2010 and charged with possession of cocaine, earning probation and having a 10-year sentence suspended after pleading guilty. He was arrested again in December 2012 when police found a rifle in his car during another traffic stop, which violated his probation. He was sentenced to six years in prison. He was released in July 2013 and placed on house arrest.

R. Jay Soward: Despite having some off-field issues in his career at USC, the Jaguars took Soward with their first-round pick in 2000. Unlike the other players on this list, Soward’s problems with the Jaguars stemmed from alcohol abuse, although he later admitted that he smoked marijuana regularly in college. The NFL announced in 2000 that Soward would be suspended for the first four games of the 2001 season. In July 2001, Soward was arrested in Orlando after threatening two police officers. He participated in training camp and the preseason but the NFL announced that Soward had again violated the league’s substance abuse policy and added six games to his suspension. He hasn’t played since.

Reggie Williams: The Jaguars’ first-round pick in 2004 was arrested three times on drug charges. In January 2006, Williams was arrested in Jacksonville and charged with possession of marijuana, for which he entered a pretrial intervention program. He was arrested again in February 2009 in Houston and charged with DWI and possession of marijuana. Both charges were eventually dismissed. In April 2009, Houston police arrested Williams on felony drug charges after an altercation with police after he refused to leave a bar. Police Tasered Williams and found a bag of what appeared to be cocaine in his pocket. The Jaguars did not re-sign Williams after the 2008 season. He caught 189 passes for 2,322 yards and 18 touchdowns in his four years in Jacksonville.

Mike DiRocco | email

ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter

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