Johnny Jolly, defensive tackle for the Green Bay Packers, has been suspended for at least the entire 2010 season without pay, effective immediately, due to a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.
Jolly’s suspension is the result of two-year-old charges that he was caught with possession of 200 grams (.44 lb) of codeine outside a club in Houston. A conviction could send him to jail for up to 20 years.
For a defense that ranked first against the rush (83.3 ypg) and second overall (284.4 ypg) in 2009, the Packers will sorely miss the presence of Jolly. Last season, he totaled 39 tackles, playing against the likes of Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, Frank Gore and Matt Forte. He also had 10 passes defensed, along with an interception and a forced fumble.
The Packers are one of the most well-rounded teams in the league that have a legitimate shot at winning the Super Bowl this year. Without Jolly, their chances decrease. It’s up to B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett, Justin Harrell and Anthony Toribio to pick up his slack on the defensive line.
Although his suspension could last longer than the 2010 season, Jolly can apply to be re-instated on February 7, 2011 (the day after Super Bowl XLV).