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.”