Packers Have Nothing to Lose in Bringing Johnny Jolly Back

Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2013

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 03:  Johnny Jolly #97 of the Green Bay Packers looks on from the field against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

With Johnny Jolly reinstated by the NFL, his future is wide open to get a fresh start and begin his life anew.

That life should start in the place where he spent his first four years in the NFL—in Green Bay.

The Packers still have the rights to Jolly, and while some might feel hesitant keeping a guy who had a stint in prison and multiple drug problems, it's really a win-win for both sides.

With the run defense struggling last year, the team needs an injection of youth and size—Jolly has both.

While not a Pro Bowler in his time with the team, Jolly was a relatively steady player in the middle. B.J. Raji is up for a new contract soon and Jerel Worthy is coming off a severe injury which can have him on the PUP to start the season (and with the Packers wanting him more on the edge as well), while both Mike Neal and Ryan Pickett have had injury issues.

There is plenty of room for Jolly in that group, with all the questions it has.

As for risk—how much is there really? The Packers own his rights and are on the hook for just $2.521 million according to the Journal-Sentinel's Tom Silverstein, and you could expect them to perhaps cut him and bring him back for a little less.

I'm sure they'd also protect themselves with clauses in his contract against him having a relapse or any further suspension. The risk is really next to nothing.

Meanwhile, a team which preaches character can help turn around the life of one of its own. It can help a man rebuild his life in a "family" which can help keep him on the straight and narrow.

Make no mistake, this is ultimately on Jolly and whether he can stay sober or not. But the Packers could be the perfect environment for him.

Meaning no disrespect to Green Bay, Wisconsin, it's not New York, Dallas or Miami. The temptation is there as well, sure, but not to the great extent it is in the other cities.

A small market is likely a much safer place for Jolly to avoid a relapse.

Jolly gets a second chance in a supportive environment, while the Packers potentially get a player who can improve their defense.

It seems like a win-win and perhaps a great ending to a sometimes sad story.

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