Gus Bradley 'trusts' Justin Blackmon despite off-field issues

USA TODAY Sports

Justin Blackmon has struggled with off-the-field issues, but Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley says he trusts the young wide receiver going forward.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have confidence in wide receiver Justin Blackmon. Specifically, head coach Gus Bradley trusts him, despite recent off-the-field issues, according to Vito Stellino of Jacksonville.com. Bradley said that his constant communication and discussions with Blackmon are the roots of the trust.

Last July, Blackmon pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor aggravated DUI charge in Oklahoma. His arrest came after he was measured to have a blood alcohol level of three times the legal limit. That was before Blackmon ever played a snap in the NFL, too.

Most recently, Blackmon was suspended for the first four games of the upcoming season, a definite blow for a team that is trying its best to put quarterback Blaine Gabbert in a position to win. The team voiced its confidence in Gabbert when they drafted Luke Joeckel, possibly the drafts best offensive linemen, with the No. 2 overall pick to play on the right side.

Bradley says that the two have had many meetings since Blackmon has been in town. He says that it's also Blackmon that instigates most of these meetings, which gives Bradley the most confidence in Blackmon staying on the right path from here on out.

"He's never done anything wrong with me," Bradley said, "It'd be different if I was talking to him and I didn't feel like we were connecting at all. I do feel a connection."

Blackmon fell short of 1,000 yards receiving in his rookie campaign, catching 64 passes for 865 yards and five touchdowns, with an average yards per reception of 13.5. Those are stellar numbers when you consider who is throwing to him. Unfortunately, with him set to miss four games this season, it's unlikely he can build on those numbers.

That said, the Jaguars will likely just be happy if Blackmon can come in and play, all the while keeping himself out of trouble. Coaches in general don't like being made a fool, and the worst thing Blackmon can do now is screw up after his coach has voiced such strong support for him.

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