HOUSTON — Suspended Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Johnny Jolly was sentenced to six years in prison Thursday for violating the terms of his probation for a drug conviction.
State District Judge Denise Bradley imposed the sentence despite tearful pleas from Jolly and his mother, Phyllis Jolly, to allow the 6-foot-3, 325-pound lineman to be treated for his addiction to codeine instead of going to prison. Jolly’s aunt, agent and drug counselor also testified on his behalf.
“I want to go to rehab to get help,” Jolly told the judge as he wiped away tears with a tissue.
Jolly, 28, was charged with possession of a compound containing codeine, a controlled substance, after a traffic stop in Houston in October. He also was charged with tampering with evidence for attempting to conceal the substance from the investigating officers.
Jolly’s truck was pulled over after he was seen throwing a bag out the window. The bag wasn’t recovered, but Jolly was seen dumping a cup believed to contain codeine on the floor. Two bottles believed to contain codeine were recovered from the vehicle.
The arrest put Jolly in jeopardy of receiving prison time because in April he had pleaded guilty to a codeine possession charge in a deal that wiped out an earlier charge and spared him from prison unless he stumbled again.
After the hearing, Jolly’s attorney, Letitia Quinones, told The Associated Press that the player spent eight weeks in court-ordered rehab after his second arrest, but has only recently faced up to his codeine addiction.
“I don’t look at Johnny as a criminal,” Quinones said. “I look at him as an addict.”
Jolly, who grew up in Houston, was a sixth-round draft pick of the Packers in 2006 after playing at Texas A&M. He was a starter for the Packers in 2008 and 2009. However, he sat out the 2010 season after being suspended by the NFL indefinitely the previous July.