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Blackmon, Gabbert may not figure into Jaguars' future

The SportsXchange

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars used first-round draft picks in consecutive years on quarterback Blaine Gabbert (2011) and wide receiver Justin Blackmon (2012) with the goal of forming the heart of their passing game for the next decade.

Now the question is whether either player will even be on the roster next year.

Gabbert has been benched for Chad Henne and Blackmon has been suspended for the rest of the season for violating the league's substance abuse program.

Blackmon has reportedly entered a treatment center after denying in the past that he had a problem or that he needed treatment. He said simply he made mistakes.

Blackmon can apply for reinstatement next year. But while the Jaguars have not closed the door on him returning, there is no guarantee that he can avoid future problems.

This is the second time this year Blackmon has been suspended. He was previously suspended for the first four games. And shortly after he was drafted, he was arrested on DUI charges after his blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit. He pleaded guilty to the charges.

Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley tried to be supportive, although he is not allowed to make many comments and said he had many positive conversations with Blackmon.

Reading between the lines, he indicated Blackmon wasn't ready to go to treatment in June.

"I don't know if the direction he is going now could have been taken in June, but we've got him to the point now where he's ready to take the next step and we'll see," Bradley said

The next step is apparently going to a treatment center. Whether he plays for the Jaguars again remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, the Jaguars have a massive hole to fill because Blackmon was the team's top offensive playmaker.

Cecil Shorts now steps into the top wideout spot and young players like Ace Sanders, Mike Brown and Stephen Burton will have an opportunity to make an impact.

And if Henne keeps playing better than Gabbert did, Gabbert could spend the rest of the season on the bench and may not be in the Jaguars' plans next year since they are likely to draft a quarterback in the first round.

--The Jaguars continued to tweak their roster for the second half of the season Monday when they added three players to the 53-man roster.

They promoted tight end Danny Noble from the practice squad, signed wide receiver Kerry Taylor from the Arizona practice squad and claimed linebacker Nate Stupar off waivers from San Francisco.

To make room for the new players, they waived offensive tackle DeMarcus Love and linebacker D.J. Williams, who apparently recovered from his concussion, and put wide receiver Blackmon on the waived/suspended list.

They also released veteran safety Dwight Lowery from the injured reserve list, so he apparently recovered from his concussion but is no longer in their plans because of the emergence of rookie Josh Evans.

Stupar was a seventh-round pick of Oakland in 2012 who spent time on the practice squad for the Raiders, Eagles and 49ers. He made the 49ers' roster this year and played in five games, including the London game a week ago Sunday against the Jaguars when he made one special teams tackle.

Taylor, who entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with Green Bay in 2011, played in three games for the Cardinals this year. He has also played with the Patriots, 49ers and Vikings.

Noble was signed by the Jaguars to their practice squad on Oct. 9 after being cut by Tampa Bay on Sept. 24, three days after he was promoted from the practice squad on Sept. 21.

He made the Tampa Bay roster as an undrafted rookie in 2012 and played in four games before going on the injured reserve list.
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