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A serious matter


There were things Justin Blackmon couldn't say.

What the Jaguars' rookie wide receiver did say during a somber, apologetic press conference Wednesday at EverBank Field is he plans to learn from his mistakes last weekend, and looks forward to a chance to move forward.

Mostly, he said he wants to make things right.

"I just want to let people know that's not who I am – and that's not who I'm going to be," Blackmon said.

Blackmon, arrested Sunday morning and charged with aggravated DUI in Stillwater, Okla., spoke publicly for the first time since the incident on Wednesday, doing so at an afternoon press conference also attended by Jaguars General Manager Gene Smith and Head Coach Mike Mularkey.

"As an organization, we're very disappointed in this incident," Smith said, "because someone who is a part of this team who doesn't meet the expectations as they are clearly spelled out and emphasized isn't doing what we desire. This is a serious matter and one that could have been more severe.

"He did not use proper judgment and this type of behavior is unacceptable."

Smith added, "It's disappointing, but I do know he has a chance to correct this."

 Mularkey said while the incident was disappointing he told Blackmon the story could turn into one with a happy ending "solely based on how he responds to this incident."

"It's totally up to him," Mularkey said.

Mularkey, who said Blackmon expressed disappointment in conversations with he and Smith Monday, called it a "very significant matter" that the team takes seriously.

"Justin let a lot of people down, most importantly family, this organization and his teammates." Mularkey said. "It's intolerable. It hasn't been since we've been here as a staff."

Mularkey said what made the incident particularly disappointing was he has scheduled speakers each Thursday during the offseason to discuss off-field decisions.

"We've purposely done it on Thursdays knowing long weekends were coming up," Mularkey said. "That was a really disappointing part of it."

Blackmon, who declined to discuss specifics of the incident because the issue is still in the court system, apologized to Smith, Jaguars Owner Shad Khan and his family, Mularkey, the organization and his teammates. He also apologized to his fans and people who look up to him.

"I feel terrible, not only letting down this organization, but my family and friends back home with the selfish decision I made," he said.

Blackmon, who said he believes he does not have a drinking problem and rather made a "poor choice," also said he plans to stop drinking alcohol.

"I can't promise you 10 years down the road," Blackmon said. "I can tell you as of right now, what I can speak of, I'm looking forward to getting to playing football and putting this in the past. . .  .

"I'm going to have to learn from it. I can't go back and change the situation."

Of the incident, he said, "I put myself in a bad situation. It's completely my fault and I just have to make better judgment on that."

Blackmon said while he realizes the incident will put pressure on him to perform as the No. 5 overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, "I put more pressure on myself to make this right, and I'll continue to do that."

Smith, who has a reputation as one of the NFL's most-meticulous general managers when it comes to investigating and placing importance on off-field and character issues, said while Blackmon had had one alcohol-related incident while at Oklahoma State, "We thought it was an isolated incident."

"Obviously, Justin has had another one," Smith said. "Without question, we have to get this right. I have faith in Justin and his support system, that it can happen. It can be a tremendous career."

Said Blackmon, "People are going to think what they're going to think. Words are words, I guess. It's my actions that are going to show."

Blackmon is one of two Jaguars rookies selected in the April draft still unsigned. Smith said the incident could impact contract negotiations, and that negotiations are ongoing. Blackmon and Smith each declined to discuss the negotiations specifically,

Whether or not Blackmon has to get professional assistance is a league matter, as is the case with Blackmon's punishment. Under league rules, the league punishes players for substance abuse and persoal conduct matters in a confidential program.

Smith said the Jaguars will provide Blackmon support based on the direction given by the league. He said he told Blackmon Tuesday that a mistake is an opportunity to learn.

"I trust with his personal commitment and with the support of his family and this team, he will change the way he leads his life," Smith said.

Added Blackmon, "It's all about growing from your mistakes, learning from them and maturing and trying not to make the same ones over."

Mularkey emphasized that the team absolutely supports Blackmon.

"We don't accept what took place, but we do support him," Mularkey said. "He's one of us. He is part of our family here and we are going to be demanding on all of our players of what we expect from him and let them know what's not tolerated. But we're going to move forward. . . "Really, how he handles himself from (Tuesday) since he got in here forward will show what kind of person he is."

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