It was a tough day for Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Johnny Jolly in November 2011 when he not only lost his job in the NFL, but was sent to the big house on a six-year sentence after he violated his probation for a previous drug conviction.
But things have slowly gotten better for the former Packer – culminating when it was announced today that he was officially reinstated from an indefinite suspension. He was notified by Adolpho A. Birch III in a letter that he was cleared to resume his career in the league and with the lifting of the suspension he is now added to the Packers’ active roster.
However, what the team does moving forward is not clear at this point. Do they allow the 30-year-old to come back and continue his career with the team? But one thing is clear – the Packers need to make a decision by the time free agency begins on March 12 when the new year’s salary cap goes into effect.
Jolly hasn’t played since 2009 and six months after he was sentenced to the six years in prison he was released after he applied for “shock probation.” He was eligible for the probation as a first-time prisoner and was released because of the shock and trauma of being incarcerated.
After starting all 16 games in each of the 2008 and 2009 seasons, he was suspended prior to the start of the 2010 season after multiple arrests that began in 2008 for possession of as much as 200 grams of codeine. He was arrested again after the 2009 season and was indefinitely suspended from the league.
The decision this week lifts that suspensions and allows him to resume his career.
The 310-pound defensive tackle was drafted in the sixth round (183rd overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft. He played 48 games over four years for the Packers, starting 39 of them – 32 of those starts came in 2008 and 2009. He had 76 tackles and 36 assists during that time. Known more for being a run-stuffer, Jolly had two sacks and even had an interception off the arm of the Bears’ QB Jay Cutler in 2009. In addition, he had four fumble recoveries.