What’s Right: Houstonian returns to NFL after turning life around


by Sherry Williams / KHOU 11 News


Posted on September 26, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 26 at 1:40 PM

HOUSTON -- From high school to the NFL, “players gone wild” is becoming a common trend, but in this What’s Right report, you’ll meet a Houston man who has turned his life around and is playing for the Packers.

In fact, number 97 is a huge part of the Packers’ defensive line.

“You know, he has the, you know, the toughness, the drive, the passion,” says Mike McCarthy, Green Bay’s head coach.

And Houston is a huge part of lineman Johnny Jolly, who is a product of Forest Brook High School.

In college, he was a standout at Texas A&M. After that, he made it to the NFL by being drafted by Green Bay in 2006.

By 2010, however, it was all over.  Jolly went to jail after being caught with codeine cough syrup outside a Houston nightclub.

Between jail and rehab, three years have passed.  It’s almost unheard of to come back into the NFL after such an unplanned absence, but that’s exactly what Jolly has done.

“Oh yeah, I mean three years is a long time for someone to sit out you know,” says Jolly. “I’m just thankful I was blessed, you know?”

Not only did he come back to the NFL, he came back to the same team, the Packers.

“He’s a different guy and he’s been through a lot,” says Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. “We’re excited about having him here. I’m excited about -- just as a friend -- him being back in this locker room.”

And folks back in Jolly’s Houston neighborhood want him to know they’re behind number 97 100 percent.

“I know you gone do your best and take care of business, man,” says former H.S. teammate Ivory McCann.