Jolly was suspended indefinitely by the league for multiple failed drug tests. He was arrested for possession of codeine — used for making "purple drank" — and sent to prison. He spent six months in prison and recently was released on 10 years of probation.
The 29-year-old Jolly was a sixth-round draft pick by the Packers in 2006. In four seasons, he started 39 games — including all 16 in 2008 and 2009. For his career, he has 113 tackles and two sacks. During his final season with the team, 2009, he deflected a remarkable 10 passes at the line of scrimmage.
"I know that the NFL doesn't need me," said the Green Bay Packers defensive lineman. "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 told Biggs that he is taking "regular drug tests" and is attending "excessive meetings" to stay clean. He says he's been sober for eight months.
"It was very hard and painful being in jail," Jolly said. "Being away from your family, it hurt me bad. Everyone looks up to you is like … it hurts them, too. It's so hard to adjust. But when I was in there, I learned that I had to find out who my real friends was, to sit down and go over myself and examine myself and see who I really was."
Jolly, who was listed at 6-foot-3 and 325 pounds when he played, says he weighs 332 and would like to shed 10 pounds. He worked out in prison and has been working out twice a day since his release.
The Packers are deep at defensive line, even with suspensions to Anthony Hargrove (eight games) and Mike Neal (four games). Still, he's got close connections with the team, including fellow defensive end Ryan Pickett, who said, "We all love Johnny," when asked about Jolly before the 2010 playoff game at Atlanta.
"I think they would," Jolly said when asked if he thinks the Packers would take him back. "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.
"I want to say that would be a dream come true, but I made it in the NFL before. So, I would say it would be like another dream. It would be a journey and going back to do the things I love and showing everybody you can make mistakes but it's the way you correct the things you've done wrong. I want to make the Packers look good if they want to take me back or not.
"I'm at eight months (sober) right now. I feel real good. I haven't had any substances in my body and I can feel the difference. My body feels straight. I'm focused on staying this way and getting my life back on track."
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.