Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon hasn't played a snap in the NFL since the team's 42-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in London back on October 27, 2013. He's been out of the NFL nearly 15 months and by the team he returned for the 2015 season, he'd have been out of the game close to 20 months.
With recent news of Blackmon selling his home in Jacksonville a week or so ago and news of him in a rehab facility a few months ago, excitement about his return has cropped back up and any push back for people to slow down on the excitement has been met with distaste from a number of fans.
A return for Blackmon however, doesn't sound like something Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell is expecting, or relying on.
"We hope for him, we pray for him, our thoughts are with him. We hope he comes back because he’s talented. We also know that he’s a good person fighting a tough battle. I think we have to treat it as a luxury," Caldwell told reporters at his press conference on Tuesday. "If he comes back, that’s great. If he doesn’t, we feel good about the three guys that we’ve got and if he comes back, that’s even better."
Caldwell also noted that the team has heard some good things about Blackmon, but they have not been directly in contact with him.
Caldwell was asked why the Jaguars would even want Blackmon back at this point, considering he's let them down now multiple times and the team has tried to create a culture of being honest and accountable in the locker room.
"Yeah, I think there’s some issues that may have not allowed him to do that. We’re trying to stand by him and trying to get him where he can do that and be that type of person that we all strive to be," Caldwell said when asked about Blackmon's return sending a different message than what they've tried to create.
"Nobody is perfect. We’ve said that from the beginning. We’re not going to have 53 angelic players, we’re going to have players with issues," Caldwell continued. "At the end of the day, if they’re willing to do the right things and show remorse, we’re not going to be the ones to judge them for that."
The Jaguars hope they hear something on Blackmon's status for the 2015 season by the time of the NFL Draft, if nothing else so they knew if they can move on or not. From the sounds of David Caldwell's answers on Tuesday however, it doesn't sound like the team is expecting a return in 2015.