GREEN BAY – Ryan Pickett didn’t know what to say Wednesday. Aaron Rodgers had spoken his mind on Tuesday.
Both players agreed on this much, though: The story of Green Bay Packers defensive end Johnny Jolly, their woebegone teammate who’s NFL career is likely over and who is almost certainly headed for prison, is a sad one.
The 28-year-old Jolly, who was suspended indefinitely by the NFL before the 2010 season, is in jail in Harris County, Texas, where he is being held without bond while awaiting on his latest drug charges.
Jolly was arrested Saturday – his third arrest in three years, dating back to July 2008 – and faces new charges of possession of codeine, a controlled substance, and tampering with evidence. Jolly reached a plea agreement calling for five years of deferred adjudication (a form of probation) and 90 days of in-patient treatment on the July 2008 charge. The plea came after Jolly was arrested in March 2011 on another codeine-related charge.
“I was disappointed. Sad and disappointed. It hurts,” Pickett said Wednesday. “You root for him, pull for him, and to see him fall back into the same trap, it hurts. We all love Johnny. We just wish he could’ve gotten it together.
“I can’t tell you if it would’ve happened if he was here or not. I wish he was, though. I mean, that’s a big hurt. All of us were talking about it. We all miss Johnny. We were all hoping there’d be a time where he might come back and help us. We don’t know that’s going to happen now.”
Rodgers believes Jolly would have had a better chance of staying out of trouble had his indefinite suspension allowed him to be in Green Bay with his teammates, even if he wasn’t able to play in games or collect his weekly paycheck.
Rodgers’ comments Tuesday on his weekly radio show on ESPNMilwaukee and ESPNMadison made national headlines when he said the NFL bears some responsibility for Jolly’s situation.
“I’ve been in touch with him off and on the last couple years. It’s just disappointing. And I’ll be honest, I think the league deserves some of the blame in this case. When you look at some of the other guys that have been reinstated in the league after jail sentences, and justly, rightly so, Johnny didn’t serve any days in prison, sat out for a year and still couldn’t get his case heard, from what I was told. I just think that that’s wrong. You break the rules, I think the commissioner’s done a great job of cleaning up some of the stuff in the league. That being said, if you take a guy away from his support system like we have for each other in Green Bay, I don’t think that’s helping. I’m disappointed for Johnny. You make your own decisions, obviously, but I just wish he had been given an opportunity to come back to the Packers. With the guys we have here, we could’ve helped him out, I think.”
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