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Justin Blackmon takes Terrell Owens' message seriously

  • By Jeff Darlington
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BEREA, Ohio -- There's no way to know if it might have helped. No way of telling whether a rookie symposium could have altered the mindset of Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon the night he was arrested for an aggravated DUI.

The past is the past, and that's where Blackmon said he's keeping it, but the first-round draft pick also claimed he's been learning plenty this week about making the right decisions in all areas of life.

"It's been really fun, really good," Blackmon said Friday. "We've learned a lot -- about on- and off-the-field situations that can make our careers last as long as possible."

This year's symposium does include some lessons on driving under the influence -- including Thursday's 30-minute breakout session titled Alcohol Awareness: DWI Prevention -- but Blackmon's own lessons have expanded far beyond that June mistake, he said. Particularly, he drew plenty from wide receiver Terrell Owens' talk with rookies Thursday about some of the other pitfalls players can eventually face.

"One of the points he made was to be careful who you trust and use the resources the NFL gives you," Blackmon said. "He said he tried to get through a lot of things by himself. All he had to do was reach out to people for help, and it might have been avoided.

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"That's what I took away from the week: Use the resources as much as possible. That's what they are there for. You don't have to go through anything alone. Why not use them?"

Blackmon said he'd spend the next several weeks in Jacksonville preparing for training camp -- and he also planned to visit his family before everything heats up -- but he'll otherwise be laying low for the upcoming weeks as he gets ready for his rookie year.

Thanks to the symposium, he'll now do so with a better awareness regarding what's to come -- not just based on his own past mistakes but also on many other areas that he'll need to keep his eyes on as he develops into an NFL player.

"There's a lot going on when you get to this level," Blackmon said.

"So much going on off the field. You're starting to pay bills. I can see why it'd be easy to start trusting people, just take the easy route and let people take care of it. But everything you do, you need to check up on it and make sure everything is right."



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