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Letters From Huntsville: Why I'm Rooting for Johnny Jolly

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Letters From Huntsville: Why I'm Rooting for Johnny Jolly

“Whenever someone with addiction dies, I grieve the lost potential and wonder about the limitations of our ability to address this cunning, baffling and powerful disease.” - Dr. Marvin D. Seppala

Last month I married my best friend. It was the happiest and most important day of my life thus far. And yet throughout the day there was a hole in my heart. My mother, the woman who gave me life, could not attend my wedding. She hasn’t passed away, and she isn’t in a coma and unable to travel. She is a drug addict.

I debated for weeks leading up to the wedding, how do I handle this? She knew I was engaged. I texted her a picture of the ring when my now husband proposed. But due to her addiction, our relationship is strained. We communicate solely through text messages, and never stray from the topic of the Packers. I doubted she remembered that we were engaged or what wedding date we picked.

So as my wedding approached, I wondered: Should I tell her I’m getting married on Saturday? She’ll probably be hurt and mad that she wasn’t invited and guilt me. Or she won’t care at all. But either way, I’ll be hurt and I’ll carry the weight of her disease when I should be focused on my wedding, my friends and my husband.

I didn’t call or text before the wedding but I did send her some of the pictures the following week via text messages. I wish I could say I felt confident and whole in my decision and her responses, but that’s not my life. And it hasn’t been for years.

Addiction has been part of my family’s story for over half my life. It's broken people, bonds, and lives. I’ve also witnessed people fight their disease and save their lives.

I have a very distinct memory of the press conference when Brett Favre announced he was going to rehab. I looked up and said, “I know that face. He’s going to say he has a drug problem.” I was thirteen.

So over fifteen years later, when I watched Johnny Jolly on Outside the Lines, it was his face that caught my attention. It reminded me of something so familiar, and it moved me. Four days after Jolly was sentenced to six years in jail, I reached out to his Twitter account. I expressed my interest in writing him while he was away and was sent his contact information.

In my experience I’ve witnessed people hit rock bottom and be alone and use it as motivation to finally change their life and I’ve also seen people, people like my mother, for whom the loneliness and the bottom only feeds the illness. I can’t reach my mother. I have had to accept that. So I wanted to reach out to someone who might be able to change.

It’s slightly selfish and there were a lot of my own issues projected in my motivations. But I felt very strongly about it.

I recently read this article, Addiction: The Disease that Lies that was published after the death of Glee star, Cory Monteith. It outlines the science behind how addiction can re-wire the brain, but what caught my attention, and I think motivates a lot of my current interactions, were the ending paragraphs:

“…the primary reason people don't seek help. Our largest public health problem goes unrecognized by those with the disease.

Every one of these deaths is tragic. They died of a disease that lies to them. Great talent and intelligence do not protect us from any illness.

We can safely watch such a tragedy, gawking as we drive by the destruction, insulated from the suffering and unable to help. But addiction is all around us and we need to respond to the rising death toll.

All of us are responsible for learning the truth about addiction, raising awareness and intervening for those who have this disease, knowing they are unlikely to be able to do so for themselves.”

Over the course of his time behind bars, I exchanged a handful of letters with Jolly. My letters to him discussed my life working at a non-profit, my fandom for the Packers and about my friends and family. His responses were honest, hopeful of his release and return to the NFL, and always included a "Go Pack Go." I’ve kept the letters in large part private, sharing them with my husband and select parts with a few close friends. I started to write this blog post nearly ten times since his release, but each time I’ve stopped.

I don’t have any secrets to share, nor news to break. I don’t have any inside scoop now, nor do I expect to any time in the future. I needed to feel like I was helping, and I think he needed to know that people care about his future.

I stopped exchanging letters with Jolly after his release from prison, but decided to share this all now because I feel like the story has finally come full circle.

On Friday, Jolly will report to Packers camp. And I think back to those letters: the growth from planning the next six years behind bars to actively planning on a return to the Packers, yet all only dreams from inside a jail cell. And I feel hopeful. Hopeful for him. Hopeful for the others in my life who are struggling with their own demons. Hopeful that given the chance, with hard work and the right programs people can grow, they can change, and they can realize their full potential.

Over the past four years, the more I write about the Packers, the more I’ve found myself becoming distant from the feel good stories and more trying to focus on the objective. So I know that come final cut down day, Jolly will only be on the final roster after winning a spot on the field, and in my heart I will be the loudest supporter. I really hope and pray that Jolly will succeed and find a home with the Green Bay Packers.

Jayme Snowden is a writer at CheeseheadTV and co-host of CheeseheadRadio, part of the Packers Talk Radio Network at PackersTalk.com. You can contact her via Twitter at @jaymelee1 or via email at Jaymelee1@gmail.com

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (68) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Evan's picture

That's fantastic. Thanks for sharing, Jayme.

I, too, am rooting as hard as I can for Jolly.

JohnRehor's picture

Excellent article Jayme. Great story and exceptionally well written

Franklin Hillside's picture

This is great, Jayme. Thank you for sharing.

mark's picture

Pulling really hard for Johnny, and not just that he makes the team, but that he learns to be at peace with a life beyond drugs and addiction. Go Johnny Go.

GAPackFan's picture

I love the "Go Johnny Go!"

Marlo94's picture

Thanks for a moving and well written article. I, too, am rooting for Johnny Jolly to make the team. I hope that he can feel all of the support and positive energy directed toward him. Go Johnny and Go Pack!

PACKERFREAK80's picture

Love the article! Your a great person Jayme! I would love to see jonny on the team and pulling for him as well!

PACKERFREAK80's picture

my typing skills suck! i meant Johnny

joym13's picture

Great article Jayme, thanks for sharing your experiences. I too, am rooting for Johnny to overcome his addiction and return to football.

FourEyesBrewing's picture

Beautiful article. Thank you for sharing.

Jamie's picture

More of this please, Jayme.

I am a heartbroken brother of an addict, and this story and your efforts with Jolly really moved me. I hope he know there are a lot of people out there genuinely rooting for him...as a Packer, but even more as a human being.

Thank you!

Cow42's picture

I can understand rooting for him to stay clean, but if I were to root for him to make the team it would mean that I would have to root against other players who aren't criminals.

Hope he's turned his life around.

As for filling the roster... Just give me the best 53.

Cow42's picture

Also, wasn't he caught the first time with like 600 grams? Was he planning on using it all or was he planning on selling some of it?

If he was dealing... All bets are off.

guenaj15's picture

Have to agree here... Hope he has moved past the drugs in his personal life, but I can't cheer for him to make the team over anyone else.
He seemed like a bit of a D-bag when he was good several years ago anyway.

Jamie's picture

I'm not sure anyone is saying they hope he makes it over other players, just because. At least my feelings, and I believe those of most all here, is that they are hoping he's gotten his life in order and can be a player close to what he was before, which should earn him a spot on the 53. If another guy, who hasn't broken the law, beats him out...so be it.

And from everything I've heard about him, when he was on the team previously, he was generally respected and cared about...no matter the position. He may have come across as cocky and a bit reckless on the field, but that didn't appear to carry over into the locker room.

Stroh's picture

Very true... Jolly was well liked and respected in the lockerroom. Packers tried to get him to stay in GB in the offseason, believing if he did the influences of the neighborhood in Houston would be eliminated. But Jolly always returned home to Houston in the offseason. That played a large part of his problems w/ drugs and being arrested. I bet Jolly wishes he had listened to the Packers about staying in GB. He probably would never have been arrested and had the drug issues he had.

Mojo's picture

Don't have any ill-wishes for Jolly, but I'm not sure if he was as well liked as some believe. This is from a JS article on Jolly from 2009: "After the arrest, most figured Jolly would keep a low profile upon his return to the Packers. But in training camp a month later, Jolly got into several skirmishes with teammates. Once, he took off his pads and motioned as if he wanted to fight the entire offensive line.

"The guy is just a jerk, plain and simple," a teammate said after the incident.

Jolly later laughed off his behavior.

"We're just having fun," he said.

The way he carried himself and his conduct led the Packers to question how Jolly would handle being given a contract extension, a source said. The Packers held the same concerns about Corey Williams, another defensive lineman. He was traded in '08 by the Packers and given his big contract by the Cleveland Browns."

Maybe it was the drugs, but I heard of other signs of discontent among his teammates at that time. Anyway, maybe he has reformed himself and has become a better person for it. Since he mostly harmed himself, I'm willing to give him another chance as long as it's earned.

Stroh's picture

Skirmishes on the field don't mean much. Usually means that the guy plays to the whistle or beyond and other players don't like it that he doesn't stop when they want him to. IMO, that is a major reason why Jolly can be very valuable to the Packers this year. He brings an aggressive physical presence and attitude that is missing on the Packers. Wouldn't be unusual for the OL to not like him, but the rest of the team love him. Rodgers seems to really like what Jolly brings in the lockerroom.

As for the Packers having concerns w/ giving Jolly a big contract. That makes sense given his life in Houston and how he would apparently run w/ the wrong crowd at home.

nick perry's picture

This is the second time you've called him a criminal that I'm aware of. If it isn't negative in some way, you don't say it do you cow42? It's so simple for you to be a judgmental jerk, talking smack from the comforts of your home, while not having a clue about addiction. Jolly has a disease that tells him he doesn't, just like Jayme said. The disease lies to you, talks to you, twists things around in your mind that would only make sense to the addict. As a friend of mine in the program says, "We have a disease that talks to us in our own voice". I've been clean for 23 years. My life is amazing. I'm a home owner, have a wonderful career, beautiful family, and much much more. Before I was blessed and able to stay clean, I was one of those that couldn't stay out of jail. It was a mystery to me when I was transported to a court date in handcuffs and shackles, and watched people drive to work in their cars. "How do they do that", I thought to myself. I didn't have a clue. I never thought that I'd be able to get clean and have a life. You see there comes a time in every addicts life where he loses the choice to use. It becomes as important to the addict as breathing is to you. My family, friends, everybody was sick and tired of me. Through my 23 years I've seen many "Criminals", as you refer to them turn, their lives around. Some have become Dentists, Business Owners, Attorneys, Doctors, Surgeons, Accountants, and many other professional positions. Hell, some of them got clean after they had received their licenses to practice. Who knows Cow42, maybe your dentist is a alcoholic, drove drunk everyday before getting sober. Is he a criminal? Maybe I'm wrong, but I'd bet at one point or another you've drove after having just two beers. In most states, depending how far apart the beer was drank, you'd be legally impaired, drunk, breaking the law. Each and every one of those "Professionals" I mentioned are criminals in your mind cow42. Jayme mentioned it, and the readings of the books in A.A. and N.A. each talk about it. The disease is cunning, baffling, and powerful. Look up the definition of each of those words and that's what Jolly deals with everyday with his disease. Just because a person gets clean doesn't mean they're cured. It's a incurable disease, meetings, service and the fellowship are our medicine. I pray for your mother Jayme. I pray she finds the help she needs and is able to find and want the help of these rooms. Thank you for sharing your story. As you can tell, everybody doesn't have the opinion of cow42. Thank God for that. Go get em Jolly, many of us are pulling for you, and for Jayme's mom.

Jayme Snowden's picture

WOW. what an amazing comment! Thank you for sharing your story and good luck in your journey and life.

A lot of the comments on this piece have meant the world to me. I really appreciate the responses and everyone who took the time to read my story, but your's definitely struck a chord with me. Addiction isn't as black and white as some people try to make it or would like it to be.

nick perry's picture

Jayme, Thank you for your kind words. I for one am praying for her. Matter of fact at the end of each meeting we have a moment of silence for those that still suffer. There's many who believe that's how they got to the program in the first place, that moment of silence. Perhaps your Mom will be one of those as well.

JakeK's picture

@ NP

Would like to hear a few words from you regarding those addicted drug users who deal drugs to vulnerable adolescents and children as a means to support their habits. ... Criminals ??

This whole issue isn't as black & white as some people make it out to be (per Jayme). It can be viewed from many different perspectives.

600 grams of codeine ... Seems like alot.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/packers/2011-03-25-jo...

Stroh's picture

Too bad for you he wasn't convicted w/ possession w/ the intent to distribute. Guess that means you don't have a leg to stand on. Having a lot of something, even illegal, isn't by definition an intent to distribute. The police will automatically ASSUME he's dealing if he has a large amout, even if they don't have evidence of intent to distribute. The more charges the police can charge you w/ the easier it is to get a conviction on a higher charge. Its like in sales, you start high, so you can negotiate down. Police follow the same logic...

JakeK's picture

No ones talking to you, Stroh. Nor does everyone always want to hear your opinion on every ef'ing thing in print. ... So just , for once, stfu.

Stroh's picture

I'm not commenting to have a conversation, especially w/ a ass pipe like you! I have something to say so I say it. You don't like it? Then don't F'in read it or get lost! I don't give a damn what you want!!!

nick perry's picture

Strohs right, they'll always try to get the individual with intent to distribute or dealing. Even when it's clearly not the case.

nick perry's picture

Jake, obviously there are exceptions. What I believe and I think rings true for every person in recovery, is the person has to accept responsibility for their actions. They also have to accept responsibility for their recovery. I think Jolly was very fortunate in receiving the sentence he did. He was given a stay if you will, where he has a chance to prove that he's a man with the problem of addiction, not a criminal, not a drug dealer. Should he have gone to jail? Absolutely. Does it excuse his behavior? No, but he also accepted the responsibility of his actions. He paid his debt and was given another chance. 600 grams IS a large quantity. I know nothing about this "Juice Drink" Jolly was using. I do know with Codeine your tolerance continues to go higher and higher. The more you use it, the more it takes to reach the desired effect. I can only imagine the amount a man of Jolly's size would need to use after months of use. It also has a physical withdrawal, not just mental that after months of using you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. These "Drug Dealers" that are selling drugs in schools to our children should be punished, they should go to jail. Hell, anyone that breaks the law, any law should go to jail if the crime justifies it. Every time I went to jail, I deserved to be there, as did Jolly. If Jolly goes about his life without another brush with the law, then I guess the Judge was right in giving him another chance. See it all comes back to Jolly. If he's really trying to stay clean and sober and not just beat his case, that will all come out in the end. I guess we'll have to just wait and see. In the end we're not bad people JakeK, we're actually good people with a bad problem. The whole reason I told this story, my personal story was I felt cow42 had passed this judgement on Jolly. He's a criminal! Nothing more, nothing less. He doesn't deserve the chance everyone else does because of that. I called BS to that and don't agree. Like cow42, we all have opinions, he has his, I have mine. I hope that answered your question.

JakeK's picture

Not here to argue this point with anyone.... My question was directed at you alone, just as my post indicated.

Many drug addicts drag innocent, vulnerable adolescents and children into 'their' world. This is criminal. The excuse of addiction has become the standard line used by too many addicts.... "What do you expect? I'm an addict." .... I suggest you find more facts regarding codeine before exonerating Jolly for being just another "addict" caught in the clutches of addiction. You're making excuses (tolerance, size) for Jolly without even knowing the facts.

This is a complex issue with many different considerations. .. However, lines have to be drawn somewhere. ... BTW ... You should be proud of your transformation.

Cow42's picture

He broke the law.
He was arrested.
He served time.

He is a criminal.

If my dentist broke the law, was arrested,and served time then, yes, he would also be a criminal.

Here's the thing with addiction... Yes - it' a disease... But often times it's a disease that the afflicted brought upon themselves... By trying an ILLEGAL drug the first time.

Everyone knows the dangers involved with recreational drug use. Some people choose to go ahead and use them anyway... Sometimes when you play with fire, you get burned. And when you do - it's not the fire's fault.

zeke's picture

"Yes – it’ a disease… But often times it’s a disease that the afflicted brought upon themselves… By trying an ILLEGAL drug the first time."

What's the basis for this statement? I spent 15 years working with addicted persons and never saw any studies that supported this, so am curious.

As for the comment that "it's not the fire's fault," I don't see anything in Jayme's post (or in Jolly's statements) that attempts to blame the drugs or alcohol, so wonder what that refers to.

nick perry's picture

Yes that's true. But it's also proved to be a hereditary disease. Just ask my Grandfather, Father, Sister, Uncle, Brother, and Aunt. If you really studied addiction, then you know the drugs or alcohol are just what the addict/alcoholic does in the end. I had a addictive trait or personality long before my first drink. To this day my addiction manifests itself in many other ways. Over the 23 years I just recognize it now. For example, I wouldn't ever consider gambling. So I'm curious, what and where were you studying?

zeke's picture

Not sure who you are asking, me or cow42.

JakeK's picture

@zeke

15 years working with addicted persons ??? ... But you've never heard of gateway drug usage and how it leads to drug addiction.

Try this to begin with ... then try a search engine.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gateway_drug_theory

zeke's picture

@Jakek
Fortunately, none of the schools that I attended had Wikipedia in the curricula.
Take your own advice and read the multitude of studies that have discredited that theory.

Stroh's picture

Leave it to Jack to use an outdate theory that was proven wrong as his evidence. Just like all the crap he spews, not an intelligent thought among them. He also sited and article about Rodgers being upset over the WR situation, only the article never said a thing about Rodgers being upset!

Just a blow hard w/ nothing good to say! You think the troll would get the hint already!

JakeK's picture

@zeke

You didn't go to any school for any kind of drug therapy education. There isn't a drug therapist on this planet that completely discredits the "gateway theory". ALL therapists realize that there are a multitude of reasons for drug addiction including softer drugs leading to harder drugs. ... You're lying (again).

You and Stroh. ... Two peas in a pod or maybe the same pea all along. ... Most can see through your BS.

zeke's picture

You're right. I don't have a degree in drug therapy education, but I do spend a lot of time on forums. Does that count, you ignorant jackass?

Stroh's picture

Nice zinger Zeke! Classic...

JakeK's picture

Funny ... Stroh in at 2:53 (other blog)and 3:10 (here) and zeke in at 2:59 (here).

You dudes sure spend alot of time here together. ... Same computer ... perhaps?

Stroh's picture

No forums don't account for SQUAT! Maybe you should try a real education instead of listening to a bunch of other ignorant hacks that don't know what their talking about either!

JakeK's picture

What a sad example of a Packer Fan... You should be embarrassed by your multiple IDs and juvenile behavior.

Stroh's picture

Now that's funny... YOU saying someone else is a sad example of a Packer fan. Poor little Jackie has her panties in a bunch!

Go away troll!

nick perry's picture

You're absolutely on some of those counts. This was on Packer report. But is sure doesn't sound like Jolly is a gangster criminal to me. Doesn't appear he's hanging by school yards slinging drugs to our children. While you bring up valid points about drug dealers and criminals, you, I, and everybody else knows that it isn't/wasn't what Jolly is about.

Jolly says he is realistic about what's most important. He said if football doesn't work out, he'd like to return to school to finish his degree — he said he left Texas A&M roughly 20 credits shy of graduating — and he'd also like to work after football with at-risk kids battling addiction.

Johnny Jolly doesn't believe his sobriety is dependent on football, though he's definitely glad to have the game in his life again.

"I wouldn't say that I need it, but I love the sport, so I want to play," the Green Bay Packers defensive lineman said Sunday, following the first in-pads practice of training camp.

Jolly, who missed the past three NFL seasons while suspended for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, is trying to become the same player and a different person all at the same time. So far, he seems to be making strides at both.

"I'd be willing to talk to kids that are kind of off track right now, because I know what it is to be off track and I know what it is to be on track," Jolly said. "Sometimes you just need that person in your ear to let you know the good advice that has been down that road and can tell you, 'That's wrong' or 'That's right.' You'll be amazed by how much it'll help."

Sounds to me like Jolly has his life going in the right direction no matter what. Go find a real criminal to crusade against!

JakeK's picture

@NP

Sorry, NP, but many would say your liberal attitude about drug addiction and intervention is also part of the problem. ... You continue to draw conclusions based on your "group teachings" instead of facing real facts.

What have you found out about codeine? ... You said earlier, you knew nothing about it. Is 600 grams a huge quantity? ... The quantity of drug is important and can't be dismissed.

Now, you appear to be drawing conclusions about what kind of person Jolly is through media quotes. Media quotes?? ... You've never had a one-on-one with Jolly but yet you feel compelled to draw conclusions.

Again, you can feel proud of your accomplishments in this area. However, facts and reality are still considered a major player when dealing with addictions. The emotional side of the issue has to be minimized to allow truth to surface.

With Jolly, time will tell... It's too early to draw final conclusions.

Kathy Kramer's picture

Not necessarily. Addiction also co-occurs with other mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and other things. Many times, they start using drugs or alcohol because they are self-medicating or trying to numb whatever pain they are feeling. It happens when people don't learn the proper coping skills to handle the things that life throws at you. We aren't really taught this, particularly if we have parents that don't cope very well with their own issues. When you treat addiction, you have to treat the co-occurring condition, too. Addiction really doesn't care if what you are feeding it is legal or not legal. JJ has paid his debt to society already so I don't understand why you are so fixated on the "illegal" part of it. JJ did his time, got help, and is trying to get on with his life. Why are you so fixated on his past mistakes? Would you like it if I went on a forum like this and pointed out all of *your* past mistakes when you're trying to move on with your own life? Somehow, I doubt it.

Less judgment. More empathy.

JakeK's picture

You're protecting the addicted individual. The victims of Jolly's addiction are also part of the equation. This isn't just about him.

For example, how much empathy do you have for someone who has more than one DUI offense? ... Remember, alcohol is a drug and alcoholism is an addiction.

This issue is far from being black and white. It's not as simple as ... "Less judgment. More empathy."

pittpackers's picture

Incredibly touching article, Jayme. Thank you for your honesty and candor. You have an acute ability to touch the heart and soul of the reader.

keeley2's picture

Well stated Jayme.
The real work begins if he doesn't make the team. Who will be there to support him then? The NFL spotlight brings visibility and accountability - a great motivator in staying clean and moving forward. I'm just hoping he's strong enough and that his support group is large enough to extend past the playing field. Good luck Johnny! I'll be pulling for you too.

Lou's picture

Agreed, the team will keep the best 53 players and it would be heart warming if Jolly is one of them. The sad part is that since he left no one has played as well at end as he has, Jenkin's best pash rushing came with him inside and he did not stop the run or bat down passes like Jolly. Thompson continues to find the best WR's in the draft each year lower in the draft but his achilles heal is drafting defensive lineman even high in the draft. Harrell was an all time bust, Neal looked liked like a complete defensive lineman but gets washed out in the run game and they are moving him to LB as a last resort. Both Worthy and Daniels appear too small to make a real impact long term. I am for draft/develop as a theme but just based on Thompson's drafting for this group, it is time for him to invest in a free agent next year who we know can play.

Evan's picture

"...and they are moving him to LB as a last resort."

I don't think that's accurate.

Stroh's picture

Definitely not a last resort for Neal. He was an impactful player in pass rush last year as a DT. I think their just trying to find ways to get him on the field more often. Which is exactly the opposite of a "last resort" situation.

Stroh's picture

DL is THE most difficult position to evaluate for scouts. Except for maybe QB. Look at the drafts the last 10 years or more, and you'll likely find more DL 1st round busts than any other position. Guys that size and athletic are very difficult to find. In HS and college they get by on size and athleticism, in the NFL you need heart and intensity to succeed on the DL and guys that dominated so easily at a young age rarely learn those traits.

Jeff Joers's picture

Jayme very nice story. Know it well

Lucky953's picture

That is a very courageous piece of writing, skillfully written. It vibrates with truth and touches my heart. Thank you.

al's picture

hope he makes it nice guy and I no nice don't make the team so go johnny go !

Big Mikey's picture

Jayme, you've done a remarkable job expressing the sorrow and hope we share as people affected by addiction.

I'm so glad you took the time to write to Jolly and express care. It makes me happy to know that he wrote back.

With or without football, my prayer is that he will heal well and be free. If you never play another down as a Packer, Johnny, we love you and we're rooting for you!

Thanks again, Jayme.

Fi crane's picture

If he has an improving camp he will be on a NFL roster in 2013

Eric's picture

This was a wonderful story. Like everyone else, I am really hoping Johnny makes the roster. He has been through so much, and I can think of few people who deserve it more

Cow42's picture

He "deserves" to make the roster because he's a drug addict?

That's crazy.

Mojo's picture

yup

Larry's picture

Second chances are so few, anywhere let alone in the NFL. As always, I have complete faith in the minds of Coach McCarthy and Mr. Thompson, to make the right decisions for the team, the locker room, and for the good of the players. I've seen these habits first hand, and they rarely reflect the true nature of the individual, but the nature of addiction itself -- not a pretty thing. The Pack would not have stuck with Jolly through this process if they didn't see some spark of goodness in the man. Speculation and "well I heard"s aside, if Jolly can still compete with the strength and passion he's shown in the past, and prove he can still be an integral part of a winning club, so be it. Personally, I'm rooting for him. If not simply for the benefit of the Pack, but to see second chances in action. A truly moving story and, as you stated, not looking for some inside scoop, but please, continue to share your insights on this story, much good can come of it.

Stan's picture

Thanks for the great story. Hoping JJ makes both for his sake and the Packer's sake.

Jerry Korb's picture

I believe the Greenbay Packers are one of the best in evaluating a players ability, attitude, and desire to compete at an extremely high level in professional football. This and the opinion of medical experts conclude that Jolly is ready for return to football. The Packers can only be a winner in this decision. I loved the article and appreciate the Packers for the opportunity they have given Johnny. Now it's time for Johnny to reward the Packers for that decision. Wither Johnny makes any roster is not important. He is already a winner with the world for the taking.
"Show Them Johnny Show them"

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Well done.

packsmack25's picture

Thanks for this, Jayme.

Kathy Kramer's picture

This post brought tears to my eyes. It hits home in a couple of ways.

I spent the past month in partial outpatient hospital program because I deal with mental illness; namely depression and severe anxiety. I went because I am tired of relapsing into depression because I didn't have the coping skills I should have to deal with these things. I was in the program with another lady who was dealing not only with alcohol addiction, but PTSD, OCD, depression and other things. One day, she didn't show up and the next day we found out that she'd relapsed and had such a bad reaction when the alcohol mixed with her meds, she ended up in the ER. She was so hard on herself because she relapsed, but she was determined to get past it. I think she had to leave because program rules said no alcohol while attending the program. I haven't heard from her since and I pray that she's doing well.

On the other side of the coin, I volunteer with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) here in Sioux Falls. Many of the kids I advocate for in the courts have parents with chemical dependency issues. In my first case, the parent wanted to get better because she was tired of the cycle of relapse, but she didn't know how or where or what to do to make things stick. She would go to treatment, do very well, stay sober for awhile, but then she'd face one of her triggers and then relapse. In the case I have now, the mother doesn't care. She's an alcoholic, she's had her daughter taken away from her several times by DSS because of her going to prison for DUI or violating her probation. Even though she signed stipulations in a legal document agreeing to do certain things to show that she can provide a safe home for her daughter, but she hasn't done squat. I know this because I have to write a report to the court. She misses visits on purpose, she's invoked the "Robitussin Excuse" so many times, she failed to show up for a scheduled UA, she relapsed twice in the course of a week and then blamed it on the fact that her daughter went from a group home into foster care and "she likes the foster parents more than she likes me". She frustrates me. She is also very manipulative, more than the usual way addicts are manipulative, and thinks everyone should do things her way and not the other way around. Then she doesn't understand that she may end up having her parental rights terminated when all is said and done because she wouldn't even try to clean up her act because she "doesn't like rules". And part of my frustration is because I know that there are people out there who would give anything to be able to have access to the kind of treatment that she's been offered and threw away. She also got kicked out of rehab and is looking at possibly going to prison for 3 years for yet another probation violation.

The other thing is that she could hit her absolute rock bottom tomorrow, and be serious about cleaning up her act, but nobody would believe her because we've all heard this before.

Sorry this is so long winded, but I totally get what your saying. Addiction is ugly.

Cletis's picture

Good, interesting article, but I have to say I've never considered Jolly a drug addict. I know he was dealing codeine/purple drank, but ask whether it is generally known that he was himself addicted to codeine?

J Randy Percy's picture

Jayme - Very good column, full of heartfelt thought. I am solidly in Jolly's corner. It is tragic that there aren't too many of us untouched by addiction - we all have had a personal brush, or have family members or friends who have struggled mightily. It is hard for most of us to begin a conversation about addiction with loved ones who are addicts, but we have to try. . . and try again.

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