Johnny Jolly's remarkable comeback season might be over due to a neck injury.
"Johnny Jolly suffered a significant injury. We got the report (on Wednesday) night, so that’s why Johnny is declared out (for Sunday)," coach Mike McCarthy said after Thursday's practice.
Jolly, coming off a three-year suspension and a stint in prison due to drug problems, had 38 tackles, one sack and one pass defensed this season. He recovered the fumble that led to the winning touchdown against Atlanta. Jolly started eight games and played in 13, missing only the Nov. 24 game against Minnesota.
“It hurts to lose him,” defensive tackle Ryan Pickett said. “Anytime you lose a player like Jolly, it hurts. Jolly made plays. He's a leader on the field and off the field. Everybody kind of rallies around him. It hurts, but you know if anybody can bounce back from something, it's Jolly. We all feel good about that. He'll be back, he'll be playing football again. So all we can do is be there for him, just wish him well.”
The 30-year-old Jolly, who will be a free agent at the end of the season, played six snaps before the injury against Dallas. Players after the comeback victory over the Cowboys credited Jolly's impassioned speech at halftime as a source of motivation to keep battling while trailing 26-3.
“He's doing good,” Pickett said. “He was down at first. Johnny loves football, so he was down at first. He's pretty cheery, he's up now, hanging around the fellas and stuff. He'll bounce back. He'll be back next year.”
The news was reported first by National Football Post. The Web site was co-founded by Jack Bechta, who is Jolly's agent.
Bechta did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking further information about the injury.
Packers injury report
Out: DT Johnny Jolly (shoulder/neck). Did not participate: TE Brandon Bostick (foot), ILB Brad Jones (ankle), RB Eddie Lacy (ankle), OLB Mike Neal (abdomen), OLB Nick Perry (foot). Limited: DT Ryan Pickett (knee), QB Aaron Rodgers (collarbone), DE C.J. Wilson (ankle).
Steelers injury report
Limited: DE Brett Keisel (foot). Full: T Kelvin Beachum (knee), WR Jerricho Cotchery (shoulder), T Marcus Gilbert (ankle), NT Steve McClendon (ankle), TE Heath Miller (not injury related), S Troy Polamalu (not injury related), WR Emmanuel Sanders (foot).
The Steelers are incredibly healthy, with Cotchery, Miller and Polamalu going from did not participate to full participation.
— Sunday’s game could be played in a big snowstorm. Or not, depending on who’s doing the forecasting. “We’ll watch it,” McCarthy said. “We’re ready to play in snow. We know where we live, so nothing will surprise us. I’m more interested in the weather two hours before the game and during the course of the game. I understand we do have some big weather out there coming.”
— Tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot, on Andrew Quarless, who we featured HERE: “When we’re out on the field working in practice I can see an enthusiasm in him. He’s definitely shown more discipline in trying to do things the right way.”
— Running backs coach Alex Van Pelt, on fullback John Kuhn’s lunging block that helped spring Eddie Lacy’s 60-yard run last week: “John threw a great block. He actually blocked a guy who wasn’t his man. His guy got trapped inside and he saw the safety coming down and laid out basically and cut the guy down to the ground, which sprung Eddie. It was a tremendous job by John reacting and being a football player out there and finding somebody to block.”
— Receiver Randall Cobb, participating in his second practice since sustaining a broken tibia at Baltimore on Oct. 13, was part of the punt return rotation. He remains on short-term injured reserve.
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