Suspended NFL defensive lineman Johnny Jolly has sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seeking reinstatement from his indefinite suspension, reports Brad Biggs of the National Football Post.
A sixth-round pick out of Texas A&M by the Green Bay Packers in 2006, the 29-year-old Jolly started 39 of 48 games over his four seasons in the NFL, including 32 straight starts over the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Jolly had a breakout season in 2009, posting 39 tackles, picking up his second NFL sack and intercepting a pass to go along with his ten passes defensed.
Jolly had been a restricted free agent who was tendered at the "First Round" level (which carried a $2.521 million base salary) during the 2010 offseason when he was suspended indefinitely for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Multiple arrests for felony possession of codeine led to a six-year jail sentence for violating his probation, a term that began last November. Jolly was released in May and placed on "shock probation" for the next ten years.
"I know that the NFL doesn't need me," Jolly told Biggs. "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."
While NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has drawn criticism for the eagerness and severity of fines and suspensions of players for on and off-field conduct, he has shown a willingness to give a player a second chance, particularly if it involves a potential story of redemption. Evidence of that can be found with Michael Vick's reinstatement after a stint in federal prison for his role in an illegal dog fighting operation.
If Commissioner Goodell is willing to grant Vick the privilege of playing in the National Football League, it would be surprising if a remorseful, and more importantly clean and sober Jolly isn't granted a similar second chance.
"I just want to show everyone that I am a reliable person and I am trustworthy and responsible," Jolly said. "I am willing to talk to kids and tell them about the things that I've went through, not only the kids but there might be other guys that might have a problem and I'd be able to talk to those guys as well...I am pretty sure a lot of guys have been through a lot of things, but I feel like I've got some experience with it, what I've been through. I can let these guys know ahead of time before they go down a road of destruction, to keep them on the right path.
"I just hope I can get a chance."