Mike Trgovac looks over Polaroids on the Packers sideline. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Johnny Jolly: He should expect a happy welcome from Trgovac

Packers defensive line coach Mike Trgovac is excited about the return of Johnny Jolly.
Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Green Bay Packers defensive line coach Mike Trgovac is excited about the coming season, not only because he’s working with an experienced group and the addition of a rookie – Datone Jones – who is expected to be a difference-maker, but because he gets to welcome a longtime friend back to the fold – Johnny Jolly.

Following Tuesday’s OTA, Trgovac was asked by the Green Bay Press Gazette about the potential return of Jolly to the Green Bay Packers.

Here is what he told the newspaper:

“Johnny was just a good solid hard-nosed football player, so we’ll see if he still has it. I’m rooting for him, I’m very proud of what he’s done, even if he wasn’t back here. My intention was to just stay in touch with him because he’s a good person that I care about.”

“I am eagerly anticipating (his return) just because I like Johnny so much. I’ve stayed in contact with him within the rules and so I’m just happy for him with what he’s able to do and able to bounce back like he did. Now from there, we’ll have to see what happens. I don’t have a clue on what’s going to happen. But I’m excited to see him because I like him personally so much. I’ll be the one rooting for him. I don’t know what he’s going to be able to do. I’ve never had an experience of a guy laid off this long.”

It’s good to hear Trgovac describe Jolly as “hard-nosed,” but we half expected him to expand his repertoire of adjectives for the defensive lineman to include more fighting words to describe how a player might fit into the Packers system: tough, strong, stout, rugged, stalwart, unyielding … not “I like Johnny so much” 0r “I’m excited to see him,” or “he’s a good person that I care about.”

It sounds like he’s talking more about his brother than a football player.

But that’s a good thing and it’s great to hear the Trgovac is thinking about the former Packer who was banned from the league and sent to prison last year for drug-related crimes.

He was released early because of stress and reinstated to the Packers roster earlier this year. However, before he joins the team he must complete a drug program. He is expected to be done with the program soon and should be ready to practice in earnest with the team once Training camps starts.

He will have an uphill battle in gaining a roster spot, but at least he’s got one of the most important people on the coaching staff on his side.

“Nobody loves football more than Johnny Jolly so that’s why this had to be hard for him,” Trgovac said. “So when Johnny played on Sunday, that’s what he lived for. He loved the game. … hopefully he can still have that burning desire.”

We’ll know soon whether he does.

Trgovac surely hopes he does.

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