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Jolly completes drug treatment program, cleared to return

Johnny Jolly AP

Some players are held up from joining their NFL team until their college class graduates.

But for Packers defensive lineman Johnny Jolly, the degree he received yesterday is far more important.

According to Chris Roth of WBAY in Green Bay, Jolly was in a Houston courtroom Wednesday, receiving a diploma for completing a drug treatment program, which was the final step in his attempted return to the Packers.

“I know I’ve seen a change, and I know your family has seen a change, and we are just so darn proud of you today just for the progress that you’ve made,” said judge Denise Bradley, who originally sentenced him. “I didn’t know if we would see this day happen.”

Jolly hasn’t played since 2009, when he was suspended for multiple drug arrests. The Packers have been willing to give him a chance, but the progress he’s made off the field is the only reason.

“[Judge Bradley] seen something in me,” Jolly said. “Even though she gave me the sentence, she saw something in me. Today I stand here a free man.

“My life is going great. I’m back with my team, the Packers. I just want to thank her. She’s done a really good thing for me. That was a blessing.”

The Packers sent director of player development Rob Davis and senior personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith to Houston for the ceremony, another sign they’re backing his attempt.

He’s rejoining the team for OTAs next week, with no illusions about his chances.

“I don’t know anyone who sat out three years and was able to go back to the same team,” Jolly acknowledged. “I met with the Packers a couple of weeks ago. They understand my situation and they are willing to be there for me, so I’m just doing everything I can to be in shape and do everything I need to do for my team.

“They have been there, and I’m going up there to do my best to show them what they want to see this year. So I’ll be doing everything in my power to get ready.”

If he gets back on the field, it will be impressive. But not as much as the comeback he just authored.

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35 Responses to “Jolly completes drug treatment program, cleared to return”
  1. noeffinway says: May 23, 2013 6:08 AM

    If this dude was with any other team this piece would have been a total flame job…..the biased reporting around here makes me want to puke. What, are you all doing Rodgers?

  2. GenXJay says: May 23, 2013 6:50 AM

    I applaud this man for turning his life around. But, he’s going to find out the hard way that his team is not the same as it used to be. And in no way, will he be able to turn the packers around. They are doomed.

  3. jasons81 says: May 23, 2013 6:58 AM

    Good for him, I’m glad he’s turning his life around… but one thing that was always odd to me is how much the league/team have always seemed to embrace him while other players have been shunned. I guess that just speaks volumes to him being a likable guy.

  4. rasalghoul says: May 23, 2013 7:02 AM

    If he makes it back and secures a spot on the team all you can say is “well done.” It was very frustrating watching him fail and hurt the Packers with his absence and news headlines but I’m glad they gave him another chance.

  5. hodag54501 says: May 23, 2013 7:11 AM

    Addiction is wreaking a terrible price on America, be it alcohol or other drugs. To get to the point a judge would risk her reputation on Jolly says he has made improvement. He will never be totally over it.
    The Packers are hoping he can return to the level of play he once achieved. He was at one point a very disruptive defensive lineman, and that was when he was in full addiction mode.
    I think he has seen that people are willing to back him if he can stay away from negative influences. As we’ve all seen, the addictive forces pull you back hard. But he has a chance, something many addicts never get to see.

  6. filthymcnasty1 says: May 23, 2013 7:27 AM

    You have to love a good redemption story.

  7. whodat318 says: May 23, 2013 7:27 AM

    No matter what team you cheer for in the fall you gotta smile when reading this story. Love to see guys make the most out of their situations in despite of transgressions. Hope he can continue the level of play that he showed in the past. Congratulations Johnny Jolly and good luck!!!

  8. rpiotr01 says: May 23, 2013 7:34 AM

    I hope this sticks, I hope he stays away from his drug of choice, and I REALLY hope that when he leaves Houston it’s on a one way ticket. Just stay away.

  9. clarkisgod says: May 23, 2013 7:41 AM

    I sure hope that Jolly is able to continue on his road to recovery. It SOUNDS like he is a changed man, but time will tell. Wish him nothing but the best on his return to the Packers.

  10. 4sharita says: May 23, 2013 7:49 AM

    Lions fan here. Good luck Johnny! Great job so far. Keep your head straight buddy.

  11. gbpackersfan12 says: May 23, 2013 7:53 AM

    Whether or not he contributes to the Packers this year is meaningless. He is beating a terrible drug addiction and showed many doubters what heart and determination can overcome. Good for him, hope he continues to win his daily battle.

  12. purpblooded says: May 23, 2013 8:00 AM

    Good luck Mr Jolly! One day at a time.

  13. beerbratscheese says: May 23, 2013 8:01 AM

    Good luck Johnny, both with the Packers, and, most importantly, in your personal life. I’ll be pulling for ya!

  14. clebrowntown says: May 23, 2013 8:02 AM

    Could be wrong but I suspect the GM, Mark Murphy is the one behind the Packers excellent support for Jolly.
    When Murphy was with the ‘skins or just after they had another lineman who was loved by everybody but got himself into trouble with whatever he got his hands on. Fans and players alike loved the guy.
    His road was very difficult and got progressively worse because he could not or would not stay clean & sober. It’s been heartbreaking.
    I hope Jolly grabs hold of the life preserver the Packers are throwing to him.
    I also hope Dexter is doing well on his journey.
    He used to be a teddy bear who was in fact the definition of the phrase…to know him is to love him

  15. oneandonlyramsfaninpa says: May 23, 2013 8:06 AM

    love to hear stories like this. second chances should only be giving to players who put in the time and effort to change. so many others just issue a statement and get back with their team. congratulations Johnny!

  16. themagicfanguy says: May 23, 2013 8:14 AM

    Good for him.

  17. scoops1 says: May 23, 2013 8:16 AM

    The sports world likes a good comeback story….hopefully this turns out to be a great one

  18. jwcarlson says: May 23, 2013 8:20 AM

    Jolly’s ongoing trouble with the law and purple drank haven’t helped the Packers defense much. The guy had some great potential to be a force on the line before all of these troubles.

    As a Packers fan, though, I really wish they’d get rid of these kinds of players. It’s not like the team is based in Dallas or Cincinnati.

  19. coleman121280 says: May 23, 2013 8:21 AM

    yep, lets dump a class act like Greg Jennings and bring in a syrup loving felon. Were losing too much ground to Minnesota, I know packer fans Don’t wanna hear it but our window is small for a championship after signing A-rod and Clay to super star contracts. Why were bringing in Jolly? b/c the price is right.

  20. jrsmits says: May 23, 2013 8:32 AM

    God Bless Johnny! Keep the faith and welcome back!

  21. jimmysee says: May 23, 2013 8:37 AM

    There is opportunity for Johnny in Green Bay. His future is clearly and totally riding on his own shoulders.

    Wishing Johnny good luck in his next battle!

  22. jrmbadger says: May 23, 2013 8:40 AM

    Nice to see him on the right path to turning his life around.

  23. derekczajkowski says: May 23, 2013 8:50 AM

    Uh oh here comes filthy and toyko claiming super bowl

  24. klattubarada says: May 23, 2013 8:56 AM

    Good for him…so many don’t take the help. I’ve been impressed with how supportive the Packers have been.

  25. jrjung says: May 23, 2013 9:02 AM

    Weather or not he makes it back on the field as a player, I hope he can use this to make himself a better person and contribute positively to his community.

  26. jhein23 says: May 23, 2013 9:41 AM

    66-30 over the past 6 years with a SB trophy and 1 of the games 3 best QBs- yep the Packers are surely doomed. Shaking at night thinking about how ‘strong’ the other teams in the division are lol.

  27. We need Bud Grant says: May 23, 2013 10:13 AM

    We rip on the pack a lot, but you have to give them credit for sticking by their guy, especially since its a long shot that he’ll ever get back to his old form,

  28. mazblast says: May 23, 2013 11:12 AM

    Am I the only one who sees a problem with special recognition going to those who overcome an addiction, while those who avoid drugs and/or alcohol, keep their noses clean, go to work, and do their jobs get nothing?

    I sincerely wish Mr. Jolly well. I hope he can play somewhere near his old level. More importantly, I hope he keeps himself clean and sober and lives a happy, successful life. But I don’t think he deserves extra attention or any further special treatment because he came back from a road he chose to go down in the first place.

  29. jack3dsd says: May 23, 2013 11:21 AM

    no other team would show as much class in this situation as the Packers are. The Packers are a TEAM and A-Rod and Clays deals are not team crippling deals like flaccos and cj2ks

  30. packerfanfordecades says: May 23, 2013 11:31 AM

    I just said a prayer for you Johnny. May the Lord’s will be done.

    Hope to see you on TV on the line this autumn and if you do end up playing I shall rejoice in being able to use your example as a way to tell my young kids what personal determination can achieve.
    .

  31. onbucky96 says: May 23, 2013 11:42 AM

    Hope he stays away from the tools he was running with back in the day. And stays off the Purple Draaank.

  32. tokyosandblaster says: May 23, 2013 2:15 PM

    Good for this guy. I have a Jolly jersey in my attic, and would love for him to complete this comeback. I’d proudly get that out of storage.

    Because of the tremendously nontrollish posts from the regular Vikings fans (so far), I will be imposing a one week hiatus from trolling Vikings articles.

    That, and I’ll be on vacation in Italy for a week.

    Peace.

  33. deltaoracle says: May 23, 2013 4:05 PM

    It’s actually his third chance; I hope he realizes how lucky that makes him. At least he’s not claiming that it’s all due to Tim Tebow.
    It’s a real longshot that he makes the team, but I hope he does – and most importantly, keeps his nose clean from this point forward.

  34. gnarlswoodson says: May 23, 2013 8:09 PM

    have a good time Tokyo.

  35. stankytoes12 says: May 24, 2013 6:27 AM

    Everyone can take this for whatever they think it is, but ive dealt with the legal system alot in my life, and i can gaurentee you judges dont say things like that to pay lip service. Im very happy for Jolly. He was an All-pro in the making in 2009, i dont expect him to return to that form but from mccarthys comments and the fact they reduced his salary to the minimum tells me hes going to get an honest shot to make the team. Im a sucker for a great redemption story and this one would take the cake, and if he never plays another down again in the NFL if he stays clean and out of trouble im still happy as hell for the guy.

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