BAY — The Green Bay Packers wait on reinstated defensive end
Johnny Jolly, believing he deserves a second chance after a
three-year suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse
And while coach
Mike McCarthy has refused to discuss what's keeping Jolly from
reporting to the team's organized team activities, McCarthy said
after Tuesday's OTA that everyone - including Jolly - deserves a
shot at redemption.
"I think our
society is built on second chances. Think how many times you look
through the history of successful individuals that probably or
maybe wouldn't have happened without a second chance,"
McCarthy said after the Packers returned to work for their second
week of OTAs after players had the Memorial Day weekend off.
is different. There's no absolute right way and wrong way when you
evaluate every situation. I'm glad to see Johnny Jolly going
through the process that he's going through. Very proud of where
he is to this point but he still has a lot in front of him."
Jolly was one of
the Packers' best defensive linemen before multiple arrests for
possession of codeine earned him a six-year prison sentence he
began serving in November 2011. However, after just six months in
jail, Jolly was released and put on "shock probation"
for the next decade.
He was suspended
indefinitely by the NFL before the 2010 season, in which the
Packers won the Super Bowl.
keeping Jolly away from the Packers' offseason program is unclear.
McCarthy won't say. Jolly's agent, Jack Bechta, did not respond to
an email Tuesday. Jolly has not responded to multiple attempts to
contact him through social media. All McCarthy has said repeatedly
that Jolly is going through "the process."
Jolly had signed
a one-year, $2.521 million free-agent tender in 2010, and his
contract was suspended at the time of his league suspension. Upon
his reinstatement in March by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after
missing the 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons, Jolly agreed to a
restructured contract that will pay him the veteran minimum of
$715,000 if he makes the team.
Last week, Jolly
graduated from his court-ordered drug-rehabilitation program in
Houston. In the audience for Jolly's graduation Wednesday were
Packers director of player programs Rob Davis and personnel
executive Alonzo Highsmith. Defensive line coach Mike Trgovac has
been keeping in touch with Jolly as much as he could under NFL
rules since the suspension was handed down.
"Not so much
ever thinking he'd ever come back here. That was not my intent of
it," Trgovac said Tuesday. "Johnny's such a good guy,
and sometimes good guys get in a bad way, and I just care about
him as a person. That's why I stayed in contact with him as much
as I was allowed to.
times when I wasn't actually allowed to contact him based on the
rules, him being (suspended). I was in contact with his mother and
stuff like that. If I broke a rule, I didn't try to. I tried to
stay within all the rules. But I just care about him as a
question, though, is what the 6-foot 3, 310-pound Jolly has left
as a player. He appeared to be a perfect fit for defensive
coordinator Dom Capers' 3-4 defense in the lone year he got to
play in the system, starting all 16 games in 2009 and finishing
with 24 tackles, one sack and 10 passes defended. In total, Jolly
started 39 games for Green Bay after being drafted in the sixth
round in 2006 out of Texas A&M.
to say until you see a guy out there working with the other
guys," Capers said. "We've got a group of guys that have
been working awful hard. It's hard to get yourself ready to play
this game unless you're out there on the field going through the
drill work and all that. I don't care how much you work on your
own, it's different. We'll just have to wait and see with
The odds are
against the 30-year-old Jolly, one of 11 defensive linemen on the
roster, including first-round draft pick Datone Jones. The Packers
have taken four defensive linemen in the past two drafts.
Trgovac said he
has seen Jolly in person several times since his reinstatement but
isn't sure what kind of shape he's in.
"He was here
a few times, but I have not seen him move around or on the field
or anything like that. So I don't know anything in that
regard," Trgovac said. "It doesn't look like he blew up,
if that's what you're asking."
As for Jolly's
skill level and how much rust could build up during such a long
layoff, Trgovac suggested it may not be a big issue.
line is not the hardest position to learn. I don't want to say
we're dummies, but it's not like playing (defensive back) where
the coverages will change," Trgovac said. "(The hardest
thing) is probably just your timing. Whether the guy can maintain
his quickness and stuff like that. But with him being laid off, I
really don't have any idea. I'm kind of excited for him to be
participating in practice Tuesday were RB DuJuan Harris (unknown),
S Sean Richardson (neck), CB Davon House (shoulder), CB Sam
Shields (unsigned), OLB Dezman Moses (unknown), ILB Desmond Bishop
(hamstring), rookie OL JC Tretter (ankle), OT Derek Sherrod (leg),
DT Ryan Pickett (unknown), DE Jerel Worthy (knee), and rookie WRs
Kevin Dorsey (unknown) and Charles Johnson (unknown). McCarthy
won't discuss injuries keeping players out of action. . The
Packers signed safety David Fulton, a 6-0, 196-pound undrafted
rookie out of Chowan University (N.C.). Fulton made 39 tackles,
five tackles for loss, a team-high four interceptions, a sack and
a forced fumble as a senior in 2012.