Next week’s mandatory minicamp will not be mandatory for defensive end Johnny Jolly.
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy “excused” Jolly from the three-day camp, even though he signed his restricted free agent tender on Monday.
“We feel it's important for him to concentrate on his legal situation,” McCarthy said after Wednesday’s practice.
Jolly was arrested in Houston on July 8, 2008, for allegedly possessing between 200 and 400 grams of codeine. At 200 grams, that much of the drug would equate to 3,333 doses of the maximum dosage prescribed by doctors. As part of the evidence in that case, Harris County (Texas) prosecutors reportedly will say Jolly “bought, sold, funded, transported and aided in the buying, selling, funding and transportation of illegal narcotics including cocaine and marijuana” from 2006 through May 2008.
His frequently delayed trial is scheduled to begin on July 30 — the first day of training camp.
“Number one, for the player, for Johnny,” McCarthy said in discussing his reasoning for excusing Jolly. “There's a lot going on, and he needs to focus and make sure he has everything in line. These decisions that are going to be made legally will affect every aspect of his life, most importantly his personal life and then his professional life.”
Jolly is scheduled to make the first-round contract tender of $2.531 million. However, the contract is not guaranteed and there are no bonuses, so the Packers can sever ties with no financial ramifications.
“I haven’t talked to him recently, but I talk to him,” defensive lineman Ryan Pickett said. “We talk about everything but that (the case). We talk about riding four-wheelers and coming to see each other. I don’t even talk to him about that because I know he hears enough about that. It’s something that happened a couple years ago and he’s still going through it now. I know he has to go through this legal procedure.”
Jolly played a key role as the Packers led the NFL in run defense last season.
“He was great (last year),” Pickett said. “When people leave, yes, you can get by without them, but would you be better without him? And we would not be better without him. He’d help us that much more. If we had him, we’d be that much better. So, we definitely need him.”
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