Packers Maintain Support For Jolly

"I'm concerned for Johnny Jolly personally," coach Mike McCarthy said on Wednesday, and Ryan Pickett voices support for his friend. The latest news, however, could mean more trouble for Jolly.

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy called Johnny Jolly's legal situation a "learning experience."

That's one way to put it.

Jolly's perpetually delayed trial for felony possession of codeine may or may not start on Friday. In the latest twist, the prosecution says Jolly "bought, sold, funded, transported and aided in the buying, selling, funding and transportation of illegal narcotics including cocaine and marijuana" in Harris County (Texas) from 2006 through May 2008.

Jolly was arrested on July 8, 2008, for allegedly possessing between 200 and 400 grams of codeine. At 200 grams, that much of the drug would equate to 3,333 doses of the maximum dosage prescribed by doctors.

"I'm concerned for Johnny Jolly personally," McCarthy said before Wednesday's organized team activity. "He's a member of our football team that's going through a legal situation and we're monitoring it closely, and we'll just continue to support Johnny the best we can."

Jolly, who is coming off his best season in the NFL as an anchor to the NFL's top-ranked run defense, is at least guilty of hanging out with the wrong crowd. That's always been the top concern about Jolly for the Packers' brass.

"You've just got to surround yourself with people who are going to do the right thing," fellow defensive lineman Ryan Pickett said. "That's what you have to do. You have to find the guys who are going to do the right thing and surround yourself with them."

Because of Jolly's legal problems — which almost certainly will land him a suspension from the NFL (at best) and might land him in prison (at worst) — the Packers moved Pickett to Jolly's spot at left defensive end and moved 2009 top pick B.J. Raji to Pickett's spot at nose tackle.

"I think anytime you have the ability to play multiple positions, whether it's defensive line and also with Johnny's situation, definitely his availability is in question," noted McCarthy, who said he hasn't talked to Jolly in at least a month. "I don't think you can deny that. But we feel very good about the depth in our defensive line, and we're excited about the younger players that we've acquired. And also I think Ryan Pickett is someone we can utilize in different positions. He hadn't played a whole lot out on the tackle, but we like everything we've seen so far."

Jolly, who has started all 32 games over the last two seasons, hasn't signed his restricted free agent tender — a first-round tender worth $2.531 million. Given the legal issues, there's really no urgency for Jolly to sign it (the contract isn't guaranteed) or for the Packers to press Jolly to sign it.

With the vital caveat that Jolly is innocent until proven guilty and that the prosecution's version of the story might lose in court, Jolly might have played his last snap for the Packers.

"We hope not, him being our friend and teammate," Pickett said. "We hope everything turns out right. This is hard. This is a lot for us to go through, as well. We don't like answering questions about our friend going through this kind of stuff. We don't like anything like this happening, because it's a distraction."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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