Johnny Jolly might appreciate his roster spot more than anyone with the Green Bay Packers. Two years ago, the defensive lineman was sentenced to prison for a violation of his parole after being arrested for possession of narcotics.
Jolly's six-year term was cut to six months with a highly moderated probation. He is back in the NFL after missing three seasons, overcoming an addiction, coping with prison and dealing with a league suspension.
NFL Media's Andrea Kremer chronicled Jolly's return to the Packers and how he has changed since he last played in the NFL.
Kremer reported that Jolly's problems reached a pinnacle in 2009 when he was abusing codeine, even while playing the best season of his career.
Jolly again is a beloved member of the Packers. But before he could return to the NFL, he had to beat an addiction to an illegal, codeine-based narcotic known as Purple Drank, which had afflicted him since his days at Texas A&M.
The addiction affected his draft status. He stopped working out because of it and fell to the sixth round in the 2006 NFL Draft. He continued to use the drug as a painkiller for the injuries he sustained while playing football.
His world started to crumble after he was arrested in 2008 for possession of codeine and he failed an NFL drug test.
Jolly was suspended indefinitely by the NFL before the 2010 season, and he said his drug use only worsened during the ban.
Jolly hit a low in 2011 when he was arrested twice for possession of codeine. The first time, he received probation and continued to feed his addiction. The second time, he was sentenced to prison. All this occurred while he was awaiting his application for reinstatement to the NFL and after the Packers had marched to a Super Bowl XLV victory.
Jolly used his time in prison to get sober. He opened up about his addition to his cellmates, something he never did with his Packers teammates.
-- Bill Bradley, contributing editor