(Reuters) - Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon has been suspended for at least the rest of the 2013 season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, the league said on Friday.
Blackmon, who had already missed the first four games of the current season for violating the policy, is suspended without pay and will be eligible to apply for reinstatement prior to the start of the 2014 season, the league said in a statement.
Blackmon, selected fifth overall by Jacksonville in the 2012 NFL draft, had 29 catches for 415 yards and a touchdown this season for a struggling Jaguars team that is 0-8 at the midpoint of their campaign.
“All of us who are a part of the Jaguars family care very deeply about Justin and his well-being. That said, he must be held accountable and accept the consequences announced today by the NFL,” the Jaguars said in a statement.
”His suspension will provide him the opportunity to receive the attention and professional treatment necessary to overcome his challenges, and we will support him during this time.
“The Jacksonville Jaguars will evaluate Justin’s status once he has successfully met the criteria to be considered for reinstatement to the league.”
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Steve Keating