Johnny Jolly passed the most important test for himself Wednesday when he graduated from a court-mandated drug treatment program in Houston.
It was a big step for the defensive lineman that has not played in the NFL since 2009 because of a troubled history with codeine. Now, he’s impressed the court with his commitment to remaining clean and has a shot (maybe a longshot) to make it back with the Green Bay Packers.
Jolly will join the team for OTA’s starting next week, according to Chris Roth of WBAY.
“I know I've seen a change, and I know your family has seen a change, and we are just so darn proud of you today just for the progress that you've made,” Judge Denise Bradley said, according to the report. “I didn't know if we would see this day happen.”
Green Bay’s director of player development Rob Davis and senior personnel man Alonzo Highsmith attended the hearing so it’s clear the club still feels it has an investment in Jolly.
“(Judge Bradley) seen something in me. Even though she gave me the sentence, she saw something in me,” Jolly said. “Today I stand here a free man. My life is going great. I'm back with my team, the Packers. I just want to thank her. She's done a really good thing for me. That was a blessing.”
Now, we’ll see if Jolly can make a contribution on the field.
Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs
Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune