Mike McCarthy: Johnny Jolly can overcome time off


Johnny Jolly's comeback attempt officially is underway.

Jolly saw his NFL career gutted by drug use that led to an indefinite suspension and prison time. The Green Bay Packers kept their faith in Jolly and now are giving the defensive tackle an opportunity to regain his roster spot following a three-year layoff.

"It was excellent. It was excellent," Jolly said Tuesday, via The Associated Press, after arriving at Packers minicamp. "I'm out there laughing and joking with the guys, it just felt like I never left. It was just like, man, this is a relief. Oh my God, I'm back on the field, practicing with the dudes I love to play ball with. It was great."

Packers coach Mike McCarthy gave an honest answer when asked how difficult it will be for Jolly to make it back. He hasn't played a snap since the 2009 season.

"Well, we're going to find out. If an individual can do it, I believe Johnny Jolly is that man," McCarthy said, via ESPN's Jason Wilde. "He has the toughness, the drive, the passion. I don't know offhand how many players are in our locker room that were teammates with Johnny.

"He's definitely someone that you know can do it," McCarthy went on. "But this is more of a question about life and second chances. We feel that he's gone through the necessary rehabilitation and training to get to this spot. I'm excited to give him this opportunity."

Jolly undoubtedly is an underdog at this stage. He's 30 and acknowledges he's not yet in football shape. He's a long shot to lock down a roster spot, but he's fortunate the opportunity even exists.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.