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.