Green Bay Packers’ Johnny Jolly Should Get a Look in Training Camp

By Joshua Huffman
Johnny Jolly Green Bay Packers
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Look at that picture. Come on, how can’t you want that on your team? I wasn’t talking about Jay Cutler.

How desperate are the Green Bay Packers as they attempt to improve their defensive line for the 2013-14 NFL season? They may consider bringing back Johnny Jolly, a defensive lineman whose last played on Jan. 10, 2010. That was the NFC Wild Card game against the Arizona Cardinals.

For fans who don’t remember Jolly, he was a high-energy player who spent his first four seasons (2006-09) with the Packers. He was an important player on the 2007-08 team that made it to the NFC Championship.

When Dom Capers brought in his 3-4 defense in 2009, Jolly moved from defensive tackle to defensive end. In 16 games, Jolly had 39 tackles with one sack and one interception. He was a strong run-defender. While Jolly only has two career sacks, he had a knack for getting his hands up at the line of scrimmage. That resulted in 17 career pass deflections, 10 of which came in 2009.

On Feb. 27, the NFL reinstated Jolly after years of trouble with codeine addiction. At age 30, the Packers must decide whether they’ll give him a chance to make the 2013-14 roster or if they let him have a new beginning somewhere else. Since B.J. Raji is the only impact defensive lineman on this roster and Jerel Worthy tore his ACL on December 30, general manager Ted Thompson may show forgiveness.

What should fans expect? Don’t get your hopes up too high. It has been approximately 38 months since Jolly played football. How is his conditioning? Will he stay out of trouble? This  isn’t a cheaper backup plan to Cullen Jenkins or Chris Canty.

Give Jolly the veteran’s minimum and see what he has to offer. The Packers don’t have to worry about punishing Jolly because the judicial system did that. At the same time, they can’t give him a job just because they feel bad for him. That’s business.

If Jolly is one of the top-six defensive linemen on this roster? Welcome aboard. If he isn’t? Good luck in future endeavors.

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