It was quite a contrast from the last time that Justin Blackmon took center stage in front of the local media. That was on April 27, a day after the Jaguars moved up a couple spots in the college draft to select the talented Oklahoma State receiver with the No. 5 overall pick.
Blackmon sat in the middle of a table that included Jaguars owner Shad Khan, general manager Gene Smith, head coach Mike Mularkey and Blackmon's family, including his mom, dad, brother and sister. All the talk in that press conference was positive in nature, how Blackmon would help the offense, how his arrival would help sell season tickets, how he and quarterback Blaine Gabbert would click.
Blackmon even talked about his upbringing, how his dad - a lieutenant colonel, and his mom - a school teacher - made things pretty strict as a youngster.
"They brought me up. It just prepared me real well to be out there on my own and how to handle different situations,' Blackmon said.
But less than six weeks later, there was Blackmon, again at the center of the table and flanked by Smith and Mularkey on each side of him. Only this time, it wasn't smiles and positive news. Instead, it was a contrite Blackmon, speaking in a low tone, looking down at the table most of the time and looking nervous as he awaited the next question about his arrest in Stillwater, Okla. four days earlier.
Blackmon had been stopped for speeding and erratic driving and when the police officer said his speech was slurry and detected the smell of alcohol, Blackmon agreed to a breath test. It registered .24, three times over the legal limit. Police subsequently charged him with aggravated DUI, the requirement for anyone with a .15 blood level reading or higher in the state of Oklahoma.
In his first public comments since the arrest, Blackmon issued an apology to Khan, Smith, Mularkey, the Jaguars organization, his teammates and fans, saying "I want ... to just let people know that it's not who I am, it's not who I am going to be."
This is Blackmon's second DUI arrest in the last 18 months. He was stopped under similar circumstances in Stillwater in 2010 and faced a DUI charge that was plea-bargained to a minor in possession of a beer. When questioned about that situation after the team drafted Blackmon, Jaguars officials called it "an isolated incident."
"Coming out of college, we're looking for patterns. We thought it was an isolated incident," Smith said. "Obviously Justin's had another one, and without question, we have to get this right. I have faith in Justin and the support system ... that it can happen. It can be a tremendous career because of it.
"We are obviously very disappointed in this incident because someone who is a part of this team who doesn't meet the expectations that are clearly spelled out and emphasized isn't doing what we desire. Justin's incident is a serious matter and it's one that could have been more severe in terms of the outcome. He did not use proper judgment and this type of behavior is unacceptable."
Blackmon pleaded not guilty in his arraignment earlier in the week, with a trial date set for July 24, four days before the Jaguars are to report to the team's training camp. The rookie receiver wouldn't talk about any of the events connected with his arrest but did make two specific comments about his drinking.
"I do not. I just think I made a poor choice," Blackmon responded when asked if he had a problem drinking alcohol. "I put myself in a bad situation. It's completely my fault and I just gotta make better judgment on that."
He also indicated that he would quit drinking ... for now.
"I'm done as far as right now, I'm done with all of that," he said before later adding, "I can't promise you 10 years down the road that I'm going to be done. I just know as of right now, and for what I can speak of, I'm looking forward to getting ready to play football and put this in the past."
The Jaguars will now wait to see what action, if any, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell takes on the matter. While a suspension isn't likely for such an offense, a first-time offender is usually fined two paychecks, up to $50,000. Blackmon might also be required to seek a treatment program and be subject to random drug/alcohol testing by the league.
No Punishment Expected for Blackmon
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