Johnny Jolly has been cleared to play football again in 2014, but will it be with the Packers? Jim Oxley photograph

Johnny Jolly cleared, but will he land somewhere?

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It seems like this is a broken record … a Green Bay Packers player suffers a neck injury, has surgery, is cleared to play football again by their personal physician but ends up watching the game from the outside.

Yesterday, it was reported by the Green Bay Press Gazette  that Johnny Jolly’s agent, Jack Bechta, was getting the word out that his client had been cleared by his own doctor and was ready to play football once again.

That’s great news for Jolly, but given the recent history in Green Bay, we’re not holding out hope that Jolly will be once again holding down his area on the Packers’ defensive line.

That’s great news for Jolly, but given the recent history in Green Bay, we’re not holding out hope that Jolly will be once again holding down his area on the Packers’ defensive line.

All I have to utter are the names of Jermichael Finley, Nick Collins and Johnathan Franklin for you to understand.

I don’t expect the Packers to pick up the hotline to an aging defensive lineman with a neck injury – despite what head coach Mike McCarthy says. His comments that they haven’t closed the door on Jolly’s return seem like hollow words at this point. The Packers have clearly moved on. They have set themselves up to go with younger, lighter, and more athletic guys for the future.

If the Packers had any interest in bringing back Jolly or his fellow longtime veteran teammate, Ryan Pickett, they would have done so by now.

Granted, the Packers do have an open spot on their roster that they haven’t filled yet and they could use it to bring either Jolly or Pickett back, but it seems to me that ship has sailed. It’s time to look to the future and for the Packers, looking at damaged goods isn’t necessarily what

GM Ted Thompson likes to do.

Jolly was nicked up a couple of times during last season prior to the neck injury in week 15 that shelved him for the remainder of 2013. The surgery to fuse his C-5 and C-6 vertebrae six months ago was deemed a success, but is it successful enough for him to start digging trenches again in the NFL?

In the past, the Packers have been very conservative when dealing with neck injuries. Yes, they did bring safety Sean Richardson back last year and he’s going to be fighting for a starting job this coming training camp, but that seems more an anomaly than the norm.

We’re glad that Jolly is ready to play again and that his health is on the upswing. We just don’t believe it will be in Green Bay.

We hope he proves us wrong. We hope the Packers step out of their comfort zone and find a way to bring Jolly back.

We’re just not holding out hope.

In the long run, if the Packers decide to bring back a veteran, they might be better off taking a look at Ryan Pickett.

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