As the Green Bay Packers continue competing among the NFC's elite, they become fortunate with the return of Johnny Jolly—a veteran defensive end who has earned a second chance of a football career after facing challenges off the field.
Now, it's all about Jolly proving that he's worth another opportunity to play in the NFL, which means one thing.
Johnny Jolly is in fact on the field at #Packers minicamp. First football activity in 3 years.— Kevin Seifert (@espn_nfcnblog) June 4, 2013
It's a win-win situation for the Packers.
If Jolly can manage to return somewhere near his physical shape by September, he will have an opportunity to earn valuable playing time on a defensive front that has its questions.
Ryan Pickett is nearing the end of his career, and both Nick Perry and Jerel Worthy need to show how effective they can be coming off injuries.
Jolly isn't a kind of defensive tackle whose statistic total brings awe among observers of the game. Yet, he is a 30-year-old lineman who doesn't have as much wear and tear on his body due to his absence from the game since 2009.
Can Jolly provide any production that resembles his last season on an NFL field? Certainly, it will be a difficult task for Jolly, much like any player, to overcome this kind of layoff.
Yet, from the stance of the Packers, head coach Mike McCarthy and his staff have nothing to lose by bringing Jolly into minicamp. Jolly is familiar with how the Packers play on a consistent basis, which has gone a long way towards him receiving a second chance.
Despite his trouble off the field, his calm demeanor makes him a likable figure by his teammates, who have already embraced his return to the field.
Aaron Rodgers just gave Johnny Jolly a hearty hand slap. Teammates seem genuinely glad to have Jolly back. #Packers— Mike Vandermause (@MikeVandermause) June 4, 2013
The worst case scenario for the Packers is that they could part ways with Jolly if he doesn't appear in a quality physical shape needed to make the roster moving forward.
However, if Jolly manages to make it onto the regular-season roster, one could expect him to posses an edge, as he tries to prove himself of being a capable option for years to come.
As the NFL continues to rely heavily on opposing quarterbacks, the idea of putting constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks has never been as important as it is currently today.
This could be the last time we mention Jolly on an NFL practice field, or his drive could propel him towards contributing to a team that is looking to establish itself as the team to beat in the conference.