Cut-down day on Saturday was nerve-racking for Packers defensive lineman Johnny Jolly.
“I was scared all the way up until the last minute,” said Jolly in the locker room this afternoon.
“I had my phone in my hand all day. I was checking the Internet. I was on my toes all day.”
Jolly, 30, was out of football for three years due to a drug suspension and was attempting an improbable comeback.
But it wasn’t until defensive line coach Mike Trgovac called and congratulated him Saturday evening on making the team that Jolly breathed a sigh of relief.
“That was like the best feeling I’ve had,” said Jolly. “That was a blessing.”
It’s been a long road back for Jolly, who spent time in prison for illegal codeine use, but he said he never gave up hope. There were low points during his time away from the NFL.
“I’ve thought deeply about like, ‘man what happens if I don’t make it,’” said Jolly. “When I think of that, it’s just automatically clicked in me that I’m gonna make it. I’m going to have another opportunity.”
Jolly is grateful for the support he received from the Packers organization and his teammates that went to general manager Ted Thompson and spoke on his behalf.
“There’s a lot of good guys on this team, and I can’t even explain how much that means to me,” said Jolly. “They’ve done so much for me. They’re always there for me, and I mean it’s like a brotherhood.
“When I was incarcerated I couldn’t communicate with nobody. Once I got out and got back signed, the guys accepted me just like I had never left.”
Oh, I haven’t celebrated because I’ve got nothing to celebrate about. I’ve still got something to prove. As a team, we want to win the Super Bowl, and it starts this week.