This comes to us as a somewhat unexpected development, although maybe it shouldn’t have.
Johnny Jolly has applied for reinstatement to the NFL and wants to return to the Green Bay Packers. The defensive lineman is coming off a six-month jail stint and an indefinite suspension handed down by the league, both of which were the result of a codeine addiction and two arrests that followed.
Jolly says he’s been sober for eight months.
“I think [the Packers] would [want me back],” he said. “I am dedicated to really make a change in my life and come back and be a positive role model. I think I have a great shot at going back to those guys. They’re a great organization. The coaches are very good, the players are good. I know they have supported me 100 percent.
“I want to say that would be a dream come true, but I made it in the NFL before. So, I would say it would be like another dream. It would be a journey and going back to do the things I love and showing everybody you can make mistakes but it’s the way you correct the things you’ve done wrong. I want to make the Packers look good if they want to take me back or not.
“I’m at eight months (sober) right now. I feel real good. I haven’t had any substances in my body and I can feel the difference. My body feels straight. I’m focused on staying this way and getting my life back on track.”
The Packers own Jolly’s rights, so if he’s reinstated they would have the opportunity to retain his services. If they relinquish his rights, he could sign with anyone.
While their offseason moves — signing Anthony Hargrove, drafting Jerel Worthy and Mike Daniels — suggest the Packers weren’t counting on Jolly playing again, it seems like a given they’d give him another chance if he’s reinstated.
Jolly knows the system and played some of his best football in 2009, his last season in the league. The Packers defensive line was a weakness last season and the addition of a motivated Jolly certainly couldn’t hurt.
Plus, he seems to be in relatively good shape — he worked out while in jail and has been working out twice a day since his release. Jolly says he’s only seven pounds over his playing weight, which is something training camp will take care of.
Before we put Jolly back in a Packers uniform, he’ll need to get clearance from the dictator himself, Roger Goodell. However, it doesn’t seem like the Packers have anything to lose by bringing him back if give the chance.