Free from a Texas prison, Packers defensive lineman Johnny Jolly is sober and ready to get back into the National Football League.
According to Brad Biggs of the National Football Post, Jolly has applied for reinstatement from the indefinite suspension handed down to him by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in 2010.
I know that the NFL doesn’t need me. I need it way more than it needs me. I really want to be a part of it and I am hoping to go back and show that I am a good reliable citizen that the league and others can depend on and trust.
Jolly was suspended by Goodell after a string of arrests related to the possession of the drug codeine, which is used in the recreational mix known as “purple drank.” His latest arrest in 2011 landed him in a Texas jail on a six-year sentence, but last month Jolly was released early after successfully applying for “shock probation.”
According to Jolly, he’s just seven pounds over his former playing weight of 325 pounds.
“I’m in pretty good shape,” Jolly told Biggs. “I would like to lose about 10 pounds. I’m probably at 332 right now, about seven pounds over my playing weight. I feel good. I am strong. My wind is up. I’m healthy and my body feels great.”
He’s also been sober for eight months, according to Biggs.
At just 29 years old, Jolly still has years left in his legs. The Packers have also been very active in upgrading their defensive line this offseason, and you could argue that Jolly was the team’s best down lineman during 2009, his last season with the team.
But Jolly also hasn’t played football in two years and still represents a major risk from multiple angles if brought back.
Jolly thinks the Packers would give him another chance.
“I think they would,” Jolly said. “I am dedicated to really make a change in my life and come back and be a positive role model. I think I have a great shot at going back to those guys. They’re a great organization. The coaches are very good, the players are good. I know they have supported me 100 percent.”
Returning to the Packers would take a move from Goodell, however, who first needs to reinstate Jolly back into the NFL. That may be a long shot considering his long track record, but other players—Michael Vick, for example—have been given second chances by the commissioner.
In the end, all Jolly wants the opportunity.
“I just hope I can get a chance.”