We can't close door on Johnny Jolly -- yet

April, 21, 2011
4/21/11
1:35
PM ET
Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Johnny Jolly has accomplished the first part of avoiding total career suicide. Whether it leads him back to an NFL field remains completely in question.

As the Associated Press reported, Jolly will avoid jail time after agreeing to a plea deal stemming from two arrests in the past three years for drug possession. He had faced up to 20 years in prison after his most recent arrest, last month in Houston, but instead will be placed on probation and will receive mandatory drug treatment.

If a prison sentence caused Jolly to miss his second consecutive season in 2011, it was reasonable to assume his career would be finished. Now, there is at least a smidgen of a possibility that the NFL could lift his indefinite suspension and reinstate his eligibility to play in the league.

It's far from clear that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would do so, and even if he did, there are no guarantees the Packers would be interested in bringing him back after his most recent arrest. Speaking Thursday at a pre-draft news conference, Packers general manager Ted Thompson declined comment.

My suggestion is not to hold your breath if you're rooting for Jolly's return. But if nothing else, Thursday's plea deal means we can't totally rule it out yet.

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