Less than 72 hours after the Jaguars wrapped up an impressive 2013 NFL Draft, they received some bad news with their top 2012 NFL Draft pick Justin Blackmon who was suspended by the league for four games.
The NFL announced the suspension on Tuesday afternoon noting that Blackmon was "suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2013 NFL season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse."
"I've made a mistake and I have no excuse. I am truly sorry and disappointed in myself for putting the Jaguars in this situation," Blackmon said in a statement. "I look forward to putting this behind me and maturing and growing as a person."
Blackmon will be eligible to return on Sept. 30, according to the league. Adam Schefter of ESPN first reported the news.
Losing Blackmon for a quarter of the season is obviously a pretty huge blow to Jacksonville and to quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
"Coach Bradley and I have spoken with Justin, and he is well aware of our disappointment," GM Dave Caldwell said in a statement. "I don't think there is any question that Justin is embarrassed and remorseful."
The good news for the Jaguars? They decided to add a pair of explosive playmakers in the draft in the form of Denard Robinson and Ace Sanders. They also have Cecil Shorts, a talented but still unproven wideout.
Blackmon's absence will be felt though.
The one good piece of news from a schedule viewpoint is that Blackmon will miss just one AFC South game. Jacksonville opens with the Chiefs, then plays the Raiders, then travels to Seattle to play the Seahawks before returning home to play the Colts.
The bad news is those games, with the exception of Seattle, are probably winnable. That becomes much less true without Jacksonville's No. 1 receiving option.