Free agent defensive lineman Johnny Jolly has medical clearance to resume his football career, according to his agent. Now the question is whether the Green Bay Packers or anyone else will sign him.
Jolly’s agent, Jack Bechta, told Press-Gazette Media on Friday his client has been cleared by his doctors from his C-5/C-6 spinal fusion surgery and is just waiting for a call.
If history tells us anything, it’s that the Packers probably won’t be calling. Coach Mike McCarthy has said the door isn’t closed on Jolly’s return. Earlier in the offseason, it was suggested that the Packers were just waiting to see if Jolly would be medically cleared before making a decision on whether to re-sign him.
But Jolly suffered a neck injury that ended his 2013 season after the Dallas game. He then had spinal fusion surgery. The only guy the Packers have brought back after an injury similar to that is safety Sean Richardson, who was hurt in 2012 and missed the first part of last season.
Richardson didn’t have any problems, but that doesn’t really mean anything for Jolly.
Even though he was the heart and soul of the Packers defense in 2013, the Packers offseason moves suggest they’ve moved on. They signed two defensive linemen as free agents — Julius Peppers and Letroy Guion — and drafted another in the third round — Khyri Thornton.
Every sign seems to point to youngsters Mike Daniels and Datone Jones taking over as starters, as well.
In other words, Jolly would have to fight for a roster spot even if he were re-signed.
We’d still like to see the Packers make the move. Jolly brings something to the team few others do and frankly, what do they have to lose if there’s no risk of further injury?
We have our doubts it will happen, though.