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Caldwell: Approach to Blackmon remains same


JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars' stance on Justin Blackmon remains the same.

The team supports the veteran wide receiver, and wants the best for him, but General Manager David Caldwell said the team continues to consider his potential return a luxury.

"We hope for him, we pray for him and our thoughts are with him," Caldwell said Tuesday at his annual season-ending press conference at EverBank Field. "We hope he comes back because he's talented. He's also a good person that's fighting a tough battle.

"We have to treat it as a luxury. If he comes back, that's great, but we can't count on it."

Blackmon, the No. 5 overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft, caught 93 passes for 1,280 yards and six touchdowns in 20 games in 2012-2013, playing 16 games with 14 starts as a rookie in 2012. He played just four games the following season after being suspended for the first four games.

He then was suspended indefinitely by the NFL for violation of the league's substance-abuse policy, a suspension that remains in place.

Caldwell said on Tuesday he hopes to hear from the NFL regarding Blackmon's status before the April 30 NFL Draft.

"We're hearing some good things (about Blackmon's off-field progress)," Caldwell said. "We haven't been in contact with him, but from some of his people who have relayed some messages, he's trying to dedicate himself to being healthier and coming back – so we'll see."

Caldwell said the Jaguars like their current wide receiver corps, which includes three players – Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee – who started a combined 21 games as rookies this past season.

"We feel good about the three guys we have," Caldwell said. "If he comes back, that's even better."

Caldwell also said Blackmon would be a $1.7 million cap hit if he plays next season, and that because he is not currently on the roster and not counting against the cap, bringing Blackmon back is not a risk for the organization.

"There's no downside to it," Caldwell said, adding, "We're trying to stand by him, and trying to get him to where he can do it and be that type of person that we strive to be. Not everybody's perfect. We said that from the beginning.

"We're not going to have 53 angelic players. We're going to have some guys with some issues. If they're willing to do the tight thing to show remorse, we're not going to be the ones to judge them for that."

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