Thankful Johnny Jolly makes return with Packers

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At long last, Johnny Jolly got back on the field with his Green Bay Packers teammates.

The veteran defensive lineman participated in minicamp Tuesday on a limited basis, 19 months removed from the last time he says he abused the drug codeine. Jolly has not played for the Packers since 2009 and he’s spent eight months in prison. He’s probably facing long odds to make it back, but the Packers have been supportive and he’s got the right attitude.

I feel great. It’s a blessing to have a second chance,” Jolly said, according to Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I take my hat off to the Packers. That showed a lot, them accepting me after everything I had been through.

“I’m blessed to be here.”

Jolly, who was suspended indefinitely by the NFL in 2010, has been reinstated and the Packers have trimmed his salary from $2.5 million to $710,000. He’s in decent shape but probably a good ways off from “football shape.”

“I haven't had no codeine in almost two years,” Jolly said. “Probably 19 months. My body feels great. I feel good, ready to play.”

It will be interesting to see how things unfold for Jolly when the Packers get going later this summer in training camp.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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