10

August

Rooting for Johnny Jolly and Rehabilitation

Johnny Jolly vs. Arizona Cardinals

Johnny Jolly displays some playmaking ability against the Arizona Cardinals in preseason action.

I have never had first-hand experiences with drugs or drug abuse. I’m proud to say that not once in my life have I ever used tobacco products, smoked pot, or used illegal drugs. I’m also thankful to say that I am surrounded by family and friends who don’t abuse drugs or alcohol. So on a personal level, I don’t fully understand the struggles that drug addicts in PA, NJ or any state deal with on a daily basis; however, I do know about them. And I understand it’s not an easy battle to fight.

Johnny Jolly’s story is well known among Green Bay Packers fans and most NFL fans. He was drafted by the Packers in 2006 during the sixth round, and it didn’t take long for him to prove that he was a steal at that spot. Unfortunately, he was arrested for codeine possession on July 8, 2008. Charges were dismissed soon after, stemming from the police obtaining new drug measuring equipment, yet they were refiled in December 2009.

Two years after his initial arrest, with Jolly’s trial finally approaching, the NFL suspended him indefinitely. Jolly was arrested again on Match 25, 2011, for possession of and intent to distribute 600 grams of codeine. That November he was sentenced to six years of prison for violation of his probation.

Six months later, Johnny Jolly was granted early release with a1 0-year shock probation, and almost a year later he was granted reinstatement to the NFL. Now, three years after his suspension, he is back with the Green Bay Packers, rehabilitated and fighting for his career.

Fans have responded to his personal and legal problems with a wide mixture of opinion and support. There was plenty of initial frustration with him throwing his life and promising career away simply for drugs and “purple drank.” There was compassion by some for his addiction, because they knew it’s not an easy thing to deal with. There was rejection by those who felt Jolly wasn’t taking responsibility for his actions, especially after the second arrest.

But now there seems to be a lot of growing support for his rehabilitation and a spot on the team.

FIGHTING DRUG ADDICTION

24

July

Shocked Johnny Jolly Sits, Waits, Hopes for NFL Reinstatement

Johnny Jolly hopes for NFL Reinstatement

Johnny Jolly – Deserving of Another Chance?

It’s been two years since Johnny Jolly last played in the NFL. After multiple drug possession arrests and convictions as he fought a codeine addiction, Jolly sat in a jail cell last November facing another 6 years in prison. Having received some breaks from the judicial system previously, Jolly would receive what will hopefully prove to be the biggest break of his life.

In May, Jolly asked for and was granted “shock probation” by a Houston judge. Shock probation can be granted to first-time prison attendees who can convince the judge that they’s been sufficiently “shocked” or “scared straight.” Jolly was re-sentenced to ten years probation and released.

Soon after, in early June, Jolly applied to the NFL for reinstatement and has heard nothing since. Of course NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has been busy dealing with some other minor distractions, namely Bountygate and the concussion lawsuits. But if Jolly wishes to have a chance to play this season, whether with the Packers (who still hold his rights) or another team, he needs to get into a training camp sooner rather than later.

For his part, Jolly talks of being eight months sober and how he has finally taken the steps to evaluate his life and find the right group of people to help him.  A cynic might say that we’ve heard this kind of talk before, but has his stay in prison coated those words with a new layer of truth?

I’ve been as skeptical as anyone, and truly believed his time in the NFL was going to be and should be over. Period. Jolly’s ONLY priority should be in repairing his life, I have said many times. Of course, I didn’t envision him getting out of jail in less than a year.

At this point in his life’s saga, he probably needs the Packers as much as anything for the support system his teammates, coaches and the organization can provide. Jolly has praised the Packers organization for their continued support, and it’s obvious they care about Jolly as a person. Andrew Brandt, former Packers executive has intimated that what happened to Jolly upsets him so much because Jolly is a good person, not some low-life scum that deserves to be in prison.

16

May

Former Packers DE Johnny Jolly Gets Early Release From Prison

Johnny Jolly released from prison

Johnny Jolly has been released from prison on "shock" probation.

Johnny Jolly, a former defensive end for the Green Bay Packers, has been released from prison and given 10 years of “shock” probation by a judge in Houston, Texas.  This comes after serving only six months of a six-year sentence for numerous charges related to the controlled substance Codeine.

While I’m no legal expert, “shock” probation is given to first-time offenders who have been “shocked” by their prison experience, which would then hopefully bring about a change. Jolly gets 10 years of shock probation along with 200 hours of community service.

Jolly was originally drafted by the Packers in the sixth round of the 2006 NFL draft.  The two years before Jolly was suspended indefinitely by the NFL in 2010, he played in all 32 games and was a key contributor to the defense.

The chances of Jolly ever returning to the NFL or Green Bay are slim to none, but it is always encouraging when a human being makes a genuine change in their life.  Hopefully, this is just the beginning to a new life for Jolly.

 

21

April

Green Bay Packers’ DE Johnny Jolly avoids prison (again)

In an somewhat stunning development, Green Bay Packers defensive end Johnny Jolly will avoid going to prison following his arrest on March 26 for possession of codeine.

Jolly instead will receive a five-year deferred adjudication and have to get mandatory treatment, according to a tweet sent out by the Green Bay Press Gazette on Thursday.

@gbpressgazette gbpressgazette: Green Bay Packers defensive end Johnny Jolly gets another 2nd chance on codeine charge: 5-year deferred adjudication, mandatory treatment.

This wasn’t Jolly’s first run in with the law either.  He was suspended for the entire 2010 Super Bowl winning campaign after a 2008 arrest on a similar charge.  Jolly had applied for reinstatement with the NFL not onger after the conclusion of the 2010 season.

Despite Jolly’s good fortune in the courtroom, it is hard to imagine him coming back to the Packers in any circumstances once the lockout is lifted.  The Packers after all won a world championship without his services.  Throw in general manager Ted Thompson’s “Packer people” precedent and it seems all but certain Jolly’s days in Titletown are numbered.

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Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke

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