Johnny Jolly needed codeine. The Green Bay Packers defensive tackle's addiction had so overtaken his life that he had to take the drug the night before games and throughout the season to maintain his high.
"At the rate I was going, I could've been dead," Jolly told NFL Media's Andrea Kremer.
That was in 2009, before Jolly's suspension from the NFL, his arrests and his time in jail.
Kremer will detail Jolly's incredible path out of the league and back to the Packers this Sunday on NFL Network's "NFL GameDay Morning." Jolly needed a lot of help along the way, including ex-teammate Al Harris' financial support. Jolly needed a team willing to take him back.
"I was always rooting for Johnny in the back of my mind," Packers coach Mike McCarthy told Kremer. "When he walked through the door, I couldn't help but hug him. There's a personal side to this that you say, 'Don't let it cloud your vision or your decision-making,' and that's definitely something you always have to deal with but also always taking hold of my professional responsibility of making sure we picked the best 53."
Jolly earned his spot on the team with an excellent training camp. He battles daily to repay all the men and women who have helped him along the way.
Kremer's full written piece will be available Sunday morning on NFL.com.