Argonauts acquire CFL rights to Justin Blackmon


Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon (Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP)

If Justin Blackmon’s NFL career is over, there is at least one CFL team that has interest in the troubled wide receiver’s services.

Sportsnet has learned the Toronto Argonauts added Blackmon, the suspended Jaguars deep-threat who quickly became a draft bust after being taken fifth overall in 2012 by Jacksonville, to their “confidential” negotiation list earlier this month.

This does not mean Blackmon will be headed to the Argos anytime soon, if at all.

Under the “Ricky Williams rule” instituted nearly a decade ago, any player suspended by another professional football league (NFL, Arena) would be ineligible to play in the CFL, until that discipline is rescinded. Blackmon’s run in Jacksonville has been mired with discipline issues. He was twice suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy in 2013 and remains under “indefinite suspension” for reportedly failing more drug tests.

He has had two DUI offences and last July was charged with marijuana possession.

There is no questioning Blackmon’s talent and explosiveness. At six-foot-one and 210 pounds, the two-time Biletnikoff Award winner in college led all NFL rookies in catches (64) and receiving yards (865) in the 2012 season. By the following spring, however, he was slapped with his first substance-abuse suspension, and then had surgery on his groin. Four months later, he received his indefinite suspension after testing positive again.

Last fall, Blackmon “voluntarily” checked himself into a treatment facility to undergo a 90-day rehabilitation program. In May, the Associated Press reported that the 25-year-old applied for reinstatement into the NFL but was denied.

The CFL has often been a landing spot for one-time stars at the end of their NFL rope, but the “Williams rule” has prevented others from playing in Canada. The latest could have been Titus Young, who the Alouettes added to their negotiation list in 2013 — but have since dropped him after his multiple legal issues.

NEGOTIATION LIST NOTES: CFL sources tell Sportsnet that the B.C. Lions last week added safety Taylor Mays to their negotiation list. Since, the six-year NFL vet signed in Oakland… Jacksonville cut QB Jeff Tuel on Saturday. The CFL significance? The journeyman was added to the Lions negotiation list last December… Some 15 of the 35 Montreal negotiation list spots are occupied by quarterbacks. Among them: Cardale Jones, Joe Webb, Tim Tebow, Matt Simms, Braxton Miller, Case Keenum and Troy Flutie (son of Darren, nephew of Doug)… Finally, sources say Jerry Rice Jr., the son of the legendary NFL receiver now playing at UNLV, was added to Montreal’s negotiation list in June. The Alouettes just last season had Duron Carter, the son of Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter, on their active roster before he signed with Indianapolis over the winter.

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