Johnny Jolly

There had been some speculation that Green Bay Packers defensive end Johnny Jolly’s career might be in jeopardy. That doesn’t appear to be the case.

Jolly had a bulging disc in his neck and the injury first game to light in the Dallas game. Jolly was forced to sit the second half of that contest with what was initially deemed a shoulder injury. It was later discovered the problem was with Jolly’s neck. The injury cost him the final two weeks of the regular season and the playoff game.

Jolly had the dreaded spinal fusion surgery on January 10 to repair the disc. Not to worry, though. It’s the same procedure safety Sean Richardson had last year and he was able to play in 2013.

Jolly expects nothing less this year. The only question is, where will he be playing?

Like the other two starters on the defensive line, Jolly will be a free agent on March 11. It sounds as if the Packers are interested in re-signing him, but want to be cautious because of the injury.

“I talked to the Packers [last week] about Johnny at the combine, and they said they love him,” Jolly’s agent, Jack Bechta said. “They’re just in a wait-and-see mode.”

Jolly played the 2013 season on a one-year, $715,000 contract. We don’t expect the Packers to offer Jolly much more than that this year, primarily because he’s 31, but we do expect them to re-sign him.

The Packers need his fire and leadership. God knows no one else on this defense has those traits.

Besides, after all that Jolly has been through — the drugs, the arrests, prison, the suspension — it would seem pretty odd for him to play for a team other than the one who welcomed him back with open arms after he served his penance.