The Indianapolis Colts are clearly pleased with what they saw from Julian Blackmon during his rookie year, as they’ve allowed both Tavon Wilson (who signed with the 49ers) and Malik Hooker to negotiate with other teams in free agency.
While it remains to be seen if GM Chris Ballard, much like he did with Wilson last offseason, looks to add a veteran safety for insurance purposes, fans would be hard-pressed to be upset with the prospect of Blackmon and Khari Willis being locked in as the starters in the secondary.
The duo formed one of the most promising young safety tandems in the NFL, and one of them (Blackmon) exceeded expectations so much that he’s managed to catch the league’s eye.
However, the reasoning behind his newfound publicity is bound to ruffle feathers in the Colts’ locker room.
In a confrontational tweet, Blackmon put the NFL on blast for allegedly hitting him with a drug test for three (!) consecutive weeks.
While the 2020 fourth-rounder managed to laugh it off, his post further proves how often the league flies in the face of its testing protocols.
Colts safety Julian Blackmon tweeted out his displeasure with the NFL for spamming him with drug tests.
Aren’t these tests randomized? There’s something so twisted about Blackmon, who has a squeaky-clean track record in the performance-enhancing drug department dating back to his college days, receiving this sort of unfair treatment.
Either the league has some damning evidence against the Utah product or it somehow needs three consecutive negative tests to ensure he isn’t (illegally) gaining a competitive edge over his colleagues. Or Blackmon is a statistical anomaly having been the “random” name three weeks straight.
Whatever the case, we’re not going to let this nonsense distract us from the fact that Blackmon was exceptional as a rookie in 2020, nor should he allow it to derail his confidence. The 22-year-old came back down to earth after a near-flawless start to his pro career, but still finished with 42 tackles (three for loss), two interceptions, six passes defended and one forced fumble.
And that was his first season back after ACL surgery.
Like any rookie, Blackmon endured growing pains in coverage, but his playmaking ability and nose for the ball were on full display. To put it simply, he was a major part of the Colts’ defensive resurgence last season and should be for the next three years.
As for being inexplicably spammed by PED tests, well, let’s hope it serves as the bulletin-board material Blackmon needed to take his game to another level as a sophomore. Not that he’s lacking in confidence. This should just put an extra chip on his shoulder to go out and be great.