Johnny Jolly: Misjudged Player Should Be Taken Back by Green Bay Packers and NFL

Chad LundbergCorrespondent IIIMay 16, 2012

I know that everyone is probably tired of hearing about Johnny Jolly. Believe me, I understand.

But let me just give it to you straight: Johnny Jolly isn't a bad man. He just needs help.

When I first heard about his legal trouble in Houston back in 2010, my first reaction was that this whole thing was simply going to blow over and Jolly would return to the Packers.

But in a shocking development, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Jolly for the entire 2010 season without pay. I was convinced that the commissioner was simply using Jolly's suspension to counter his reputation for being lenient in his punishment of NFL players.

But as the months went by, I began to change my opinion. Jolly was under probation, yet he was arrested again as he continued his involvement with a codeine concoction known on the street as "purple drank."

In short, how I felt was that not even the threat of prison time was going to force Jolly to learn his lesson.

There came a point where I couldn't deal with my frustration with Jolly any longer, and I began to withdraw my support for him.

But to my surprise, Jolly came clean and admitted to everything on ESPN (via the Green Bay Press-Gazette). He admitted his addiction and stopped making excuses.

After seeing him pour his heart out like that, I realized something. Jolly isn't a bad man. He just needs some help. I felt terrible because I felt that I had horribly misjudged him.

Aaron Rodgers even came out on ESPN Radio and stood up for him (via FOX Sports).

As reported by the Associated Press, Jolly asked the judge to give him a chance to rehabilitate at his trial (via USA Today). Unfortunately, that request was refused and he was sent to prison.

But as reported by ESPN, Jolly has been released on "shock" probation, which allows for certain convicts to be released early on probation after experiencing the shock or trauma of being in jail. I believe that this is a wonderful opportunity for him because I believe he should be given another chance.

To know that Jolly finally admitted to his mistakes should be a big relief to everyone. Yes, I understand that he only came clean when he came close to going to prison, but that doesn't mean he didn't mean what he said.

Jolly is still only 29 years old, and it's a lot to hope for, but there's still another four months before NFL football starts. It could be just enough time for Jolly to return sometime during the season.