Former Packers DL Jolly Receives Medical Clearance All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Johnny Jolly
Jolly is one step closer to a potential return to the NFL

According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the doctors of former Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Johnny Jolly have given him the medical clearance to resume his football career.

I’m not writing this because I think Jolly will be back with the Packers or even to suggest that the Packers look into evaluating and clearing him.  Jolly’s story last season carried with it a tale of redemption and hope.  While his performance was anything but stellar, he was a good addition to the team and proved worthy of a roster spot.

Jolly received encouragement from his doctors earlier this year when the surgery was performed and a portion of his hip bone was grafted to help fuse his spine.  At that time, all Jolly could do was wait and see how it healed and if doctors would be confident enough to allow him to play football again.

Today, at least part of that wait is over.  Jolly’s clearance by his doctors is the first step to his potential return to the NFL and a sign that the procedure was a success, at least from a medical standpoint.

However, before any team would sign Jolly, their doctors also have to medically clear him.  Being cleared by his own doctors is one thing.  Being cleared by a team doctor is another and especially if we’re talking about the conservative medical staff in Green Bay.

Packers fans are unfortunately all too familiar with the process a player goes through with a serious neck injury.  We have seen some good and great former Packers players not return to the game following a neck injury.  The same players who if healthy, would have multiple suitors for their services and at a healthy rate of pay.  Former safety Nick Collins being a prime example.

Former Packers tight end Jermichael Finley is also still waiting for a team to medically clear him so he can resume his professional career.  As much as these men offer as players, teams remain cautious about the potential risks associated with a return to this very physical sport following such a serious injury.

As far as the Packers are concerned, the meaning of this news about Jolly today is about nothing more than being happy for a former team member.  As I mentioned earlier, the Packers have seen way more than their fair share of neck injuries to past players and to hear about one that may heal enough to return to the gridiron is welcome news on its own merit.

Assuming that Jolly were to be medically cleared, it would likely take an injury to prompt the Packers to bring him in for evaluation.  He’s over 30 and there are always big question marks about how a player’s game changes after a serious injury.  There’s an outside chance, but at this point, it’s not likely.

No other interest in Jolly from around the NFL has been reported to this point.



Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on

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8 thoughts on “Former Packers DL Jolly Receives Medical Clearance

  1. ‘Further medical clearance’ means more than has been shared…so what is it that separates it from what is already known?

    1. My thoughts exactly. We already knew Jolly was cleared by his doctor… what “further medical clearance” does the headline refer to?

      1. I removed “further” from the title and it should have been removed before posting. Error on my part.

        Jolly tweeted about being cleared to work out earlier this spring but that was not a clearance to return to football-related activity.

  2. We hear a lot about the Packers having a strong locker room. Jolly is a great guy to have in the locker room. I would like to see the Packers bring JJ back, assuming he is medically cleared, for 2 reasons. First he would be a great mentor for our young defensive linemen. Secondly, with having dealt with his own substance abuse issues, think of the advice and counsel that he could provide for a young player like Lyerla. This assumes that Lyerla makes the team, which I believe he will. Even if Jolly cannot return as a player the Packers should try to find some role for him with the team. He has a great attitude and any team can use more of that. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

  3. JJ has fought hard to get back his life, and play football. He has shown a spirit of play that can only help the Pack. I hope he can clear team doctors and given a chance to show his stuff. I don’t think the Pack would be disappointed…

  4. Jolly’s story is pretty inspiring, I have to hope he is able to play again. If not, I hope he is able to continue to use his story to help others with simular issues. I think all of packerdom, most of all, wish him continued success in dealing with his past demons, in whatever he does.

  5. I’m glad Jolly has made a full recovery and is able to live a normal life. He may not play NFL football again (I hope he can), but, there’s much more to life and good health is high on the list. Jolly over came his addiction and made the 53 man roster. He contributed on the field and in the locker room. He helped give the D an edge that it needed.

    Not that Jolly and Pickett were elite run stoppers last year ( they were both getting older) , but I do wonder how the 2014 D is going to do against the run. Even with Jolly and Pickett, the run D wasn’t to good, especially the 2nd half of the season when injuries, fatigue and soreness set in. I know Raji is more at home at NT, but, he sure did get pushed around a lot last year. Add that, and no upgrade at ILB, and the middle of our D seems soft to me. I hope I’m wrong. I hope Boyd can take the next step and the the kid we picked up from Minnesota can help, because they’re the only big bodies (cloggers) on the D line now. Every one else seems to be more of the pass rushing/chase type lineman. I do think the D will be much improved thus year (if there’s minimal injuries) , maybe top 13. But, can we stuff the run when needed?

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