The NFL career of Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon is likely over.
Caldwell said the team has not heard from Blackmon recently, and his 21-month respite from the NFL makes it doubtful he will ever play again in the league.
“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.”
Blackmon hasn't played or practiced with Jacksonville since Week 8 of the 2013 season, when the NFL suspended him indefinitely for his third violation of the league's substance-abuse policy. Before he can get back on an NFL field, Blackmon must apply for reinstatement into the league and then endure a two-month vetting process to determine if he will be allowed to return.
The fifth overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, Blackmon caught 64 passes for 865 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie. Blackmon failed an offseason drug test in 2013 and was subsequently suspended for the first four games of the season. He returned to the Jaguars for Weeks 5-8 and made 29 catches for 415 yards and one score before violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
Blackmon has not been cut by Jacksonville, and Caldwell has said the team does not plan on doing so. Because Blackmon is on the reserve/suspended list, he does not count against the team's roster limit or salary cap. His contract was paused upon suspension.
Blackmon has 2 1/2 years remaining on his 4-year, $18.5 million contract with Jacksonville, pending his return to the NFL.
- Kayla Lombardo