There is no question Green Bay Packers defensive end Johnny Jolly was a rising star before he was suspended by the NFL indefinitely after the 2009 season. It was certainly a sad day for the Packers organization because Jolly had shown so much promise in his four years in the league up to that point. With the past behind him, Jolly is determined to make up for lost time by dominating in the preseason and earning a roster spot.
“It all comes back to you,” Jolly said, according to ESPN.com. “It’s just a matter of how much you grind to get back to that point. I’m working hard and my coaches are staying on me to get back to that point. I’m just taking advantage of my opportunity, and I’m just going to keep pushing forward.”
Jolly certainly looks like a man who has not missed anytime playing football, despite it being three and a half years since he stepped foot on a NFL gridiron. He has already made an impact in two preseason games, which gives the Packers hope that Jolly can be a game changer for them once again.
In just 14 snaps against the St. Louis Rams on Saturday night, Jolly recorded three tackles (one for a loss), one interception with the defense’s back up against the goal line and he tipped a pass that led to a Jarrett Bush interception. To do all of that in just 14 plays is very impressive, even if it is only preseason.
Considering the Packers’ defensive linemen only batted down four passes last year, Jolly’s presence will certainly be a welcomed one. The 30-year-old defended a whopping 10 passes in 2009, which was the most in the NFL that season. Green Bay is hoping he can return to that form, and after his performance against the Rams, it looks like he will have no problem in doing so.
“For me, it’s just a reaction thing,” Jolly said, according to ESPN.com. “Getting push and at the same time, I’m watching the quarterback. When he gets ready to release, I just stick my hands up and put them in the passing lane.”
It is certainly exciting for Packers fans to see Jolly return to the field after being gone for so long. He was definitely a player everyone cheered for, as he always made sure his presence was felt on the defense. Hopefully, his long road of redemption will not stop at clinching a spot on the 53-man roster, but rather, a Super Bowl ring at the end of the 2013 season.