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Johnny Jolly: My only friend was codeine

Johnny Jolly AP

Johnny Jolly, the suspended defensive lineman who played for the Packers from 2006 to 2009, said in a tearful interview set to air this week that his addiction to codeine has torn his life apart.

“My only friend was the codeine,” Jolly said in an interview with ESPN’s Outside the Lines, a portion of which has been posted on YouTube.

Jolly has been arrested on drug charges four times and has also run afoul of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy for positive codeine tests. Jolly said that being suspended by the NFL sent him into a depression, and he turned to codeine even more, using it every day.

“Every time I even thought about a game coming on, I mean that’s the only way I could make it through the day,” Jolly said. “It hurt me not to watch, too.”

That’s a point that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has raised: Suspending Jolly from the NFL took his support system away, took his means of making a living away, and made it even harder for Jolly to turn his life around.

The Outside the Lines piece also says that both of Jolly’s parents were crack addicts, and Jolly’s mother says that rehab worked for her and can work for her son, too. Jolly’s legal situation and his football future are both unclear, but he says he still hopes he can play in the NFL again.

“Me losing football is like me losing a loved one,” Jolly said, “or a bunch of loved ones at one time.”

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66 Responses to “Johnny Jolly: My only friend was codeine”
  1. stevemo says: Nov 15, 2011 1:16 PM

    It’s his own fault. The guy ought to enter rehab and/or find a job until he can be reinstated into the league and try finding work there.

  2. philvil41 says: Nov 15, 2011 1:17 PM

    Say hi to JaWalrus Russell

  3. thebigkahuna23 says: Nov 15, 2011 1:17 PM

    It’s tough being in a place like that. I hope he gets better and this is a good first step

  4. contra74 says: Nov 15, 2011 1:18 PM

    Am I supposed to feel bad for you Johnny? Awww…nope. You did it to yourself. You had a sweet thing going for you by being an NFL player. Something many former college football players, like myself, one day hoped to become and you pissed it away.

  5. medtxpack says: Nov 15, 2011 1:20 PM

    Tough to watch, he has the talent. I hope he can rebound but i doubt we will see him wear Green and Yellow again…

  6. richm2256 says: Nov 15, 2011 1:20 PM

    I’ll shed no tears for this man.

    If football meant that much to you, Johnny Jolly, then you should have worked as hard as any other addict has to, and asked the Packers for the help to beat it.

  7. glac1 says: Nov 15, 2011 1:23 PM

    Sad, he was a great talent and it has turned out to be a huge loss for the Packers. He made our line click and when he got hurt before his addiction our pressure on the quarterback dropped big time.

  8. jrsmits says: Nov 15, 2011 1:23 PM

    Hope to have you back in the family soon Johnny!! Signed a life long Packer fan. Prayers are with you.

  9. bjorntorock says: Nov 15, 2011 1:24 PM

    he was one of our best tackles…i would take him back in a heartbeat! good luck with beating your addiction buddy!

  10. KIR says: Nov 15, 2011 1:26 PM

    With parents addicted to crack I can understand his reality. He deserves punishment and and then a chance to redeem himself. He’s only 28 he can still turn his life around. Hopefully, he can get the compassion on this site I saw for former N.Y. Jets QB Erik Ainge who was addicted to drugs. I doubt it.

  11. dionoil says: Nov 15, 2011 1:26 PM

    It’s never too late to get your life together

  12. nesportsfan0428 says: Nov 15, 2011 1:26 PM

    Hope he gets the help he needs, addiction isn’t fun. The NFL loves to give second (third and fourth) chances, so if he gets his act together, someone should give him a shot.

  13. eaglesandravens says: Nov 15, 2011 1:27 PM

    I really hope he turns his life around. Hopefully, he’ll get another chance in the nfl

  14. chocolatebaconbutter says: Nov 15, 2011 1:29 PM

    I simply can’t get enough purple drank and making it rain stories. Keep it coming.

  15. slatetundra07 says: Nov 15, 2011 1:30 PM

    You make adult decisions, you pay adult consequences.

  16. row60 says: Nov 15, 2011 1:31 PM

    I agree with Rodgers completely on this. I understand that the NFL has its reasons for suspending players with drug problems, but they have to acknowledge that sending him away from team facilities and back to his enablers in Houston was the worst thing that could happen for his recovery. Why not have a policy that keeps someone from playing but requires him to show up at team facilities every day in order to earn the right to play again?

  17. 11inthebox says: Nov 15, 2011 1:32 PM

    @joetoronto:

    Wow. You’re so cool. I mean, it takes real guts to write what you just did.

  18. cmb79 says: Nov 15, 2011 1:32 PM

    Thoughts to him and his family that they can get their lives turned around.

  19. n0hopeleft says: Nov 15, 2011 1:33 PM

    I wonder if Johnny and JeMarcus are buddies now?

    Could be purple, could be pink.

  20. killxswitch says: Nov 15, 2011 1:37 PM

    It’s his own fault but I hope he turns his life around. He was a solid player when he was clean.

  21. sobora says: Nov 15, 2011 1:38 PM

    Wish him the best. There are things greater than football going on in their lives, often times. It’s not right to immortalize these players (and coaches–Sandusky) and expect them to live inhuman lives. They have the same problems and temptations we all do. Have a little understanding and empathy.

  22. bozosforall says: Nov 15, 2011 1:38 PM

    Excuses, excuses. Get over yourself, Jolly Green Wussy.

  23. sobora says: Nov 15, 2011 1:39 PM

    However, no empathy for Sandusky. That’s just completely wrong.

    Didn’t want to send the wrong message.

  24. txndave says: Nov 15, 2011 1:39 PM

    I live in the H and let me tell you, there are so many people that are addicted to the stuff its crazy. Rich, middle class and poor. Drank is a real problem in the H….

  25. packerfan12 says: Nov 15, 2011 1:40 PM

    I have heard reports of him being very selfish and a nuisance in the locker room. I had no idea that his parents were addicts and is possibly a gene that has been passed down. I wish him the best in his rehab and recovery, but the fact is he needs to get his life straight first, then worry about coming back to football.

  26. mjs2012 says: Nov 15, 2011 1:42 PM

    I remember people ripping Rodgers for his comments a couple of months ago. I wonder if they’ll change their tune after the interview.

  27. mrgroovesd says: Nov 15, 2011 1:45 PM

    I have to agree with Aaron Rodgers on this one. It does take his support system away from him which is his team. If the NFL is going to suspend you, at least they should give you a support system and not just tell you to go to rehab. Let the team have contact with him and vice versa. I mean I don’t really know how the NFL does it but it seems that way from what the players say about being suspended for violating the substance abuse policy.

  28. n0hopeleft says: Nov 15, 2011 1:49 PM

    The fact that so many of you are taking this guy’s side is sad and pathetic.

    He’s been busted for DRUGS (and forgiven) 4 times!?!??!

    Addiction isn’t a joke, but being sympathetic to a person that took our money as fans, and bought drugs to alter his mental state for recreation is completely unacceptable.

  29. Slim Charles says: Nov 15, 2011 1:51 PM

    Abba-Zabba is my only friend.

  30. gregjennings85 says: Nov 15, 2011 1:52 PM

    Say whatever your little hearts desire, ye of your mothers’ basements, but nothing can take away from the fact that Rodgers is right about Jolly. The suspension leveled against the former Aggie only served to strengthen his reliance upon bad people for income. That’s not to say he wasn’t guilty of extremely poor judgement to begin with, but without any semblance of plausible longterm rehabilitation to work with, he was always going to be doomed to a live dependent on drugs for money.

    I know most of you will say “Why couldn’t Jolly just have graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in business administration?” Clearly, he was there for one reason, because he could play football.

    Also, for those of you who have seen Jolly play in Green Bay’s most recent 3-4 defense or Green Bay’s old 4-3 scheme, none of you can deny that Jolly was one of the best interior defensive lineman in the league. His combination of quickness and athleticism at 6’3″ 325 lbs was rare.

  31. alpod says: Nov 15, 2011 1:55 PM

    abba zabba, you’re my only friend.

  32. metalhead65 says: Nov 15, 2011 1:59 PM

    everybody makes mistakes but when you do it a second time knowing what is going to happen then to bad no symapthy here. and the whole point is why would anyone do this stuff when they know what will happen? great you had a tough life but you had football to get you out and you still chose to do whatever drug that you are hooked on.no I am not perfect but I am smart enough to know not to mess with stuff that screws up your life.

  33. FinFan68 says: Nov 15, 2011 2:00 PM

    Cop-out excuse. I understand addiction but there is an element of personal responsibility that is often overlooked. He didn’t start out with an addiction; he started out with poor decisions that led to his addiction. He was in control of those decisions and chose to be stupid and because of that, his life has essentially been ruined. Complaining about a lack of support (like Rodgers implies) after it was finally removed is hypocritical. Jolly has had several chances and each time he has chosen to ignore the help and support that was there.

  34. thefam3132 says: Nov 15, 2011 2:01 PM

    good luck in your recovery John Jolly! I hope you have found a support system. Best wishes for you. It was courageous to come forward and share your story with everyone. You certainly sound far more humbled about what’s happened to you than JaMarcus Russell.

  35. gr8whte says: Nov 15, 2011 2:01 PM

    Bo over millions… real smart.

  36. nineroutsider says: Nov 15, 2011 2:01 PM

    txndave says: Nov 15, 2011 1:39 PM

    I live in the H and let me tell you, there are so many people that are addicted to the stuff its crazy. Rich, middle class and poor. Drank is a real problem in the H….
    ————————————————-
    Just out of curiosity, what does a person wasted on drank behave like? Are they like crackheads, drunks, stoners, etc? Stupid question, but the whole “drank” thing trips me out and is totally foreign to me.

  37. jutts says: Nov 15, 2011 2:02 PM

    Addiction sucks. Period. I hope he and the rest of the addicts can find the road to recovery.

  38. bozosforall says: Nov 15, 2011 2:05 PM

    bozosforall says:
    Nov 15, 2011 1:38 PM
    Excuses, excuses. Get over yourself, Jolly Green Wussy.

    __
    And get over yourselves, wussy Packer fans.

  39. das14 says: Nov 15, 2011 2:06 PM

    The lesson is the drugs don’t work, they just make things worse. The Verve. Hope he gets the help he needs.

  40. citizenstrange says: Nov 15, 2011 2:06 PM

    when your day is done
    but it’s all gone wrong
    codeine
    — J.J. Cale-ed

  41. plum13sec says: Nov 15, 2011 2:07 PM

    As someone who has used different forms of opiates, I know the lure and crave that you feel for these drugs.

    I know that drugs draw hate from many, but drugs do not make (should not) someone a criminal. Drug users need support not Incarceration.

    I hope the best for Mr. Jolly

  42. baconholybacon says: Nov 15, 2011 2:13 PM

    Hey, Johnny Jolly. I just tore my MCL. Can you send your best friend over to stay for a while? Thanks!

  43. eaglesandravens says: Nov 15, 2011 2:16 PM

    @slatetundra07

    Try being raised with crack parents…

  44. packattack1967 says: Nov 15, 2011 2:20 PM

    anyone who mocks him is a heartless jerk.

  45. realitypolice says: Nov 15, 2011 2:21 PM

    contra74 says:
    Nov 15, 2011 1:18 PM
    Am I supposed to feel bad for you Johnny? Awww…nope. You did it to yourself.
    ===============

    Please point out the part of the article where he asks anyone to feel sorry for him or blames anyone else for his addiction.

    Jeez, you friggin people and your knee jerk reactions.

    What’s wrong with an addict telling his story?

    Good grief, grow up.

  46. jimmysee says: Nov 15, 2011 2:23 PM

    I don’t understand why he did not get the heck out of Houston and relocate to Green Bay.

    It would have been much easier for him to toe the line up there.

    A sad story.

  47. minnesconsin says: Nov 15, 2011 2:36 PM

    nineroutsider says:
    Nov 15, 2011 2:01 PM
    txndave says: Nov 15, 2011 1:39 PM

    I live in the H and let me tell you, there are so many people that are addicted to the stuff its crazy. Rich, middle class and poor. Drank is a real problem in the H….
    ————————————————-
    Just out of curiosity, what does a person wasted on drank behave like? Are they like crackheads, drunks, stoners, etc? Stupid question, but the whole “drank” thing trips me out and is totally foreign to me.

    ———–

    like other opiates, it’s basically euphoria w/ reasonable doses, escalating to pure numbness with abuse.

  48. tombradysponytail says: Nov 15, 2011 2:37 PM

    contra74 says:
    Nov 15, 2011 1:18 PM
    Am I supposed to feel bad for you Johnny? Awww…nope. You did it to yourself. You had a sweet thing going for you by being an NFL player. Something many former college football players, like myself, one day hoped to become and you pissed it away.

    __________

    He’s a drug addict and needs rehab. Who knows if it will work? Show a little compasson why don’t you? Besides, shouldn’t you be off whining about the poor officiating in last night’s game?

  49. nfloracle says: Nov 15, 2011 2:48 PM

    NFL Oracle says, “There are sure a lot of mean-spirited tools on PFT who don’t understand addiction.”

  50. souldogdave says: Nov 15, 2011 2:50 PM

    The NFL will chew you up and spit you out. You just got spat. Try to live before you dare to dream.

  51. anthonydilweg says: Nov 15, 2011 3:14 PM

    Since this person is an athlete on a team that you may or may not hate, its ok to unload on him. And for all you people saying crappy things, I hope one day you find your wife/girlfriend or son/daughter snorting up the medicine cabinet. Then you’ll find out just how many answers you don’t have.

  52. deebo92 says: Nov 15, 2011 3:16 PM

    You’ve got a friend in me

  53. catquick says: Nov 15, 2011 3:18 PM

    He shouldn’t have been suspended because codiene isn’t an “performance enhancing drug”. If anything, its an performance depleteing drug. It slows you down. teams give guys painkilling injections in the locker room all the time. A guy takes some outside the office and he’s gone? Hypocritical at best. It all for show. Boob bait for the bubba’s. When he kills himself will the league be satisfied then? Even the feds have a program for employees who abuse drugs. I guess the NFL just doesn’t make enough money.

  54. ddjesus says: Nov 15, 2011 3:23 PM

    I feel for Johnny. He was great for us, but he needs to put football on the backburner until he gets his life straightened out.

  55. mvp43 says: Nov 15, 2011 3:31 PM

    Say hello to my little purple friend………..

  56. claymatthewsisonsteroids says: Nov 15, 2011 3:44 PM

    Typical Packer!

  57. bossplayer213 says: Nov 15, 2011 4:30 PM

    Man you people are harsh. Look at the environment he grew up in, both his parents were crack addicts. He saw that’s how the people around him deal with problems. Does he deserve blame? Of course, he makes his own decisions. But things like this always trace back to your childhood and how you were raised. It ALWAYS STARTS AT HOME.

  58. sf69ers says: Nov 15, 2011 4:34 PM

    Perscription pain killers are a major social problem today. NFL players are at a major risk. Get injured and get a perscription from a doctor, we don’t think you have a problem when you are supposed to take two a day, but when you develope an addiction and will do anything to get the drugs, there is a major problem there. This affects people of all income levels and status. Synthetic heroin in pill form, yet out doctors continue to perscribe it.

  59. catfish252 says: Nov 15, 2011 4:35 PM

    Johnny – I pray for you to beat this codeine addiction, it’s not going to be easy but then either was making it in the NFL, so if you use the same determination and put as much work into beating this as you did in becoming a pro athlete you will come out on top. I know you can do it — but do you?

    A Giants Fan and former alcoholic, with 11 years without a drink.

  60. Brian Keith says: Nov 15, 2011 4:36 PM

    After reading some of these comments, I can only hope that none of you or anyone close to you (family, friends) ever have to deal with an addiction problem of any kind. Instead of degrading the man and beating him down, why not lift him up for being a man about it, looking himself in the mirror, owning his problem, and trying to do the best he can to rectify the situation. Anybody who has ever fought this fight knows that addiction is a daily battle with a demon that will never ever go away. To just sit here and criticize the man if one has never walked a day in his shoes – As the good Lord says “he without sin, shall cast the first stone!” Best of luck to you Mr. Jolly, prayers go out to yourself and your family that one day you may be able to conquer these demons!

  61. metalhead65 says: Nov 15, 2011 4:40 PM

    so because the guy had a rough life growing up I am suppose to feel sorry that he blew his chance to escape it and do something good with his life? he of all people should ave known what taking drugs can do to you but he CHOSE to take them. nobody but a gun to his head and said you have to do this. that is what those of us who do not take drugs do not understand. why if you saw what being a crackhead did to your parents would you choose to go doen the same path when you had a way to avoid it with football? now we are suppose to have sympathy for someone who blew it all? none from me.

  62. donz0 says: Nov 15, 2011 4:52 PM

    His support system for the rest of life needs to be Narcotics Anonymous.

  63. polishrod says: Nov 15, 2011 5:04 PM

    packattack1967 says:
    Nov 15, 2011 2:20 PM
    anyone who mocks him is a heartless jerk.

    ————–

    Of course, how dare anyone mock an ex-Packer.

    Once again, the Pack fans are out in droves giving a thumbs-down to anyone who is holding this lug not responsible for his own actions.

    I can understand being fans and loyal, but the guy repeatedly made bad CHOICES. Should he be forgiven, absolutely, but to not hold him to the same standard as everyone else is both ridiculous AND the Packer Nation way.

  64. joetoronto says: Nov 15, 2011 6:07 PM

    11inthebox says: Nov 15, 2011 1:32 PM

    @joetoronto:

    Wow. You’re so cool. I mean, it takes real guts to write what you just did.
    *************************************************
    I’m of the belief that everyone is responsible for their own actions, period.

    This joker threw it all away for purple drank.

    To me, the guy’s a loser.

  65. richm2256 says: Nov 15, 2011 10:32 PM

    packattack1967 says:
    anyone who mocks him is a heartless jerk.

    ——————————————————–
    I save my compassion for people who aren’t self-destructive, and actually do things to get back on track instead of wallowing in self-pity.

    Sorry.

  66. brewdogg says: Nov 17, 2011 1:05 AM

    Okay, both sides have spewed, so let’s get this one question out there for everyone to consider….

    Is there anyone in the Packer’s “family” that offered their home and help to him, and if they did, why was it refused?

    So he couldn’t be at team functions or facilities. That doesn’t mean that no one from the team could give him a place to stay and someone to help him through it. So either no one wanted to step up for him, or he chose to run back to Houston. Why, if his parent’s were addicts and his troubles all started back there, why did he go back?

    The likely answers do not cast him in a positive light.

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