If Michael Vick Received a Second Chance, Should Johnny Jolly?

Green Bay Packers defensive end Johnny Jolly pleaded guilty to codeine charges on Thursday, although it was no real surprise to the Packer fan base following months of disappointment and speculation.

What did come as a surprise, though, was Jolly's sentence. Fortunately for Jolly no jail time was awarded, meaning a future in the NFL is still a slight possibility somewhere down the track. Whether or not Commissioner Roger Goodell chooses to reinstate Jolly in the future, however, adds a negative spin on the entire story.

After hearing the opinions of fans, Jolly was let off the hook rather easily in the minds of some. He will have to attend a drug rehab center in Houston for 90 days according to the Green Bay Press Gazette, while a $500 fine has also been included.

Not bad for a drug charge that could have resulted in a 20 year prison sentence, right?

But perhaps this is why so many folks have their nose out of joint. A drug crime of this magnitude would normally land anybody who isn't a professional football player behind bars, yet in Jolly's case, his status as an athlete may have saved him some serious hard time in the long run.

Then again, he isn't totally out of the woods.

I guess if we look at the situation seriously, the NFL is full of second chances.

Current Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam (Pacman) Jones was let off the hook after causing a scene at a local strip club in 2007. To make a long story short, he tried his hand at professional wrestling, failed, and wound up with the Dallas Cowboys thanks to Jerry Jones' generous bank account.

Of course, Pacman's career has never really been the same since. But hope isn't totally lost for Jolly.

If Jolly really wants to hang his hat on something positive, it might as well be Michael Vick. Here is a guy who looked doomed three years ago after facing prison time for a dog fighting charge, but somehow bounced back, and is now an MVP frontrunner for years to come.

So should Jolly be forgiven for his sins?

It's a two way street.

Vick paid his dues by serving hard time. He worked his way into the Philadelphia Eagles starting role by spending a year on the bench behind Donovan McNabb. And when his name was called along with Kevin Kolb's this time last year, Vick knew that he had taken the proper steps to reviving his former legacy with the Atlanta Falcons.

PETA may argue differently, mind you.

So for Jolly to simply pay a small fine, attend rehab and pull what is now referred to as a "Charlie Sheen" would almost be morally wrong. Given that the Packers probably want nothing to do with him after this ongoing saga, chances are some other desperate team will stroll in, pick up the pieces even if some controversy comes as a result.

It could be argued that Jolly has already been given a second chance. No prison sentence is the ultimate let-off, and when the NFL lockout is a distant memory, Jolly has every right to apply for reinstatement depending on Goodell's attitude.

Yep, the NFL is soft like that.

For Vick, he had talent and still does. He's been to the Pro Bowl. Thrown for over 14,000 passing yards. And despite what animal activists say, has made one of the most remarkable comebacks in all of sports.

What does Jolly have?

Two sacks to his name in the span of four years. A list of criminal charges that also includes driving with a suspended license. Oh, and a drug problem that is still yet to be fixed.

Until he makes up for his wrongs, don't expect to see Jolly's face anytime soon.

 

Check out Ryan Cook's new blog: The Front Page.

You can follow him on   Twitter or send him an email: ryan.cook392@gmail.com.

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