Former Redskins defensive back Will Blackmon was surprised to find no teams wanted him in 2017.
Blackmon, 33, has had to sit out a season due to lack of interest before, in 2012, but it’s never hit him quite as hard as this past season.
“My situation, it was unfortunate this year that I didn’t play,” the 12-year NFL veteran told Craig Hoffman of 106.7 The Fan. “I’ve been through it before, but this year was surprising to me because I know I can still play at a high level, I’m healthy and, yeah, no issues.”
A free agent brought in off the street by Washington during Scot McCloughan’s first year as general manager, Blackmon fought his way into more playing time with his versatility, starting 16 games between corner and safety over two seasons for the Redskins. He also filled in on kick and punt returns — when needed — in 2016. Blackmon was a cutdown casualty as the Redskins trimmed their roster at the conclusion of the 2017 preseason.
“My plan right now is obviously get ready for the month of February, when teams start working players out,” he said, later adding, “I feel like… like, right now, I’m not in a situation where I’m the veteran just trying to hold on for dear life, like I’m just trying to make it. Like, no. I know I still have productive years in me, and the value that I bring to teams and the leadership and what have you, I know that I can help teams, whether it’s someone trying to make a postseason run or whether it’s a team trying to rebuild.”
This is the underside of NFL free agency. Fans tend to obsess over signings, while rarely thinking of those who weren’t signed. Blackmon now finds himself grappling with the idea that he can still be a productive player who performs at a high level, and the reality that he still needs some team to give him a chance to prove it.
“I’m still available, still ready to play,” he said. “So that’s what I’m doing right now, just training and keeping myself healthy, because you never know. The opportunity may come, and if I’m not ready, then that’s my fault.”
“So I’m ready just to play another one, two years or however long I can play,” he said. “That’s the plan.”
(Non-sequitur: Blackmon is picking his former team, the Jaguars, to upset the Patriots in Sunday’s AFC Championship.)