Packers defensive lineman Johnny Jolly has a mission greater than football these days.
But he said that the way he left the Packers before made him want to make things right this time.
“I let my team down before, I let my family down before, I let myself down before, and I’m just trying not to go back down that road,” Jolly said, via Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin. “I’m just going to keep doing what I do. Practice hard, work hard. I’m one of 90 men [on the roster]. I’m going to keep pushing to be here for the season.”
If he does, it will complete one of the more remarkable comebacks.
He hasn’t played since 2009, after an indefinite suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. He also spent six months in jail after multiple arrests for codeine possession.
The Packers retained his rights, and now they’re giving him another chance. They’re not babysitting him, but surrounding him with teammates can’t hurt his efforts to stay clean and get back to the game.
“I wouldn’t say that I need it, but I love the sport, so I want to play,” Jolly said. “I’ve been through so much stuff, it’s made me a better person, a wiser person. There are things in life you just have to go through and learn from and I’m a better man from it now. I’m just going to keep rolling with it.”
There are no guarantees he makes the roster, but getting this far makes the story a good one, since he’s trying to fight something tougher than blocks.