1) Introduction: People might have forgotten but before BJ Raji’s interception against Chicago during the Packers 2010 Super Bowl run, there was another defensive linemen with soft hands and a penchant for stealing passes from the offense and that was Johnny Jolly, who ironically also intercepted a pass from a Chicago Bears quarterback in 2009 and was looking like a priority resign for the Packers. Unfortunately, Jolly was suspended indefinitely in 2010 for a codeine addiction (i.e. “purple drank”) and had to watch the Packers win the Super Bowl without him and lose out on probably the biggest contract in his career. Now 3 years wiser and cleaner, Jolly makes his improbably comeback into the NFL with the same team he started with, would this be a Cinderella story or just another cruel tale?
Johnny Ray Jolly Jr.
- Age: 30
- Born: 2/21/1983 in Houston, TX
- Height: 6’3″
- Weight: 325
- College: Texas A&M
- Rookie Year: 2006
- NFL Experience: 5
3) Expectations coming into the season: None. No one really knew what to expect from Jolly and most thought it was lucky of him to even be invited back to training camp. After 3 years of rehab and a short stint in the cooler, was Jolly physically or mentally ready to get back into the NFL? Was his remarkable redemption story going to be short lived once he was back making good money or was it really true what Aaron Rodgers has said where the Packers could be Jolly’s support group and help him remain clean? Realistically nothing should have been expected from Jolly in 2013 and simply making the team is a major accomplishment on its own.
4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Jolly’s big day came against the Atlanta Falcons in week 14 and dominated against the run, recording 4 tackles and 1 assist, a pass break up and 3 run stops. Jolly’s lowlight was certainly injuring his neck and getting sent to IR, which further complicates his future. The question now becomes are the Packers (or any other NFL team for the matter) willing to risk money on an aging player with a history of drug abuse and is coming off a significant injury? Only time will tell.
5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Moderate. As mentioned before getting anything out of Jolly after so long should be considered a success but Jolly probably did not have as much impact on the field as many fans believe. For one Jolly was strictly a rotation player and was mostly used against the run and unsurprisingly for a 30 year old 300+ pound defensive linemen was a liability in pass rushing, only recording 1 QB hit and 3 hurries. Furthermore, Jolly had several terrible games throughout the season, including against the 49ers on opening day and back to back weeks against the Eagles and Bears. Jolly’s biggest contribution might be his feel good story and it’s effect on the psyche of the Packers, perhaps especially during Aaron Rodgers injury.
6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Jolly was placed on injured reserve after week 15 due to a neck injury and did not play in the wildcard game against the 49ers.
Season Report Card:
(A) Level of expectations met during the season
(C) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(N/A) Contributions to team during the playoffs
Overall Grade: B——————
Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.