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Packers Camp, Jolly Returns

by Mark Daniels
 Audio: Johnny Jolly meets the media Tuesday.

The wreck of the 'ol 97 happened fast.   Drafted in the sixth round out of Texas A&M in 2006, Johnny Jolly was on the fast track to a solid NFL career by 2008.  But that summer, in his hometown of Houston, Jolly had his first brush with the law.   He played 16 more games in 2009 for the playoff bound Packers, but in rapid succession, he was busted two more times, suspended indefinately by the NFL and sentenced to six years in prison on drug posession charges.   Today, for the first time in three years, number 97 was back in uniform at the team's first mandatory mini-camp practice. Afterwards, Jolly talked frankly about the derailment in his life.   He was released early from prison, completed his court-ordered drug treatment program and gained reinstatement from Roger Goodell.  Jolly was all smiles to be playing football again, he was grateful the Packers never gave up on him and was eager to be one of 90 players just trying to win a job this fall. (hear Jolly's session with the media on the link below)

Sam Shields was also on the practice field for the first time this off-season.  Shields stayed away from the off-season training and organized team activities after getting tendered a restricted free agent contract offer from the team.   Shields, coming off a bounce back year in 2012, intercepting a handful of passes including the pick six of Colin Kaepernick in the NFC Divisional playoff loss in San Francisco, was looking for a long term deal from the team instead.  The Packers made it pretty obvious they wanted to see a bit more of Shields before making that comittment and when Sam's agent Drew Rosenhaus came to town on Monday to hear that same story, Shields signed the second round tender that will pay him just over two million dollars this season.

Today's practice, forced inside the Hutson Center because of a steady, light rain, looked an awful lot like the OTA sessions.  Plenty of individual and group drills stressing fundamentals.  For the first time in a long time, Mason Crosby had to give way in the field goal period to some competition.  The Packers signed Giorgio Travecchio of Cal to give Crosby a push after his miserable slump last season.   Both kickers got shots from 38, 43 and 50 yards out and both made all three.  More interesting to watch was punter and holder Tim Masthay spinning like a top.   He took the snap and spun the laces one way for the right footed Crosby, turned around and did it the other way for Travecchio, a southpaw kicker.

A couple of new names were on the injured list and did not work, receiver Jarrett Boykin and draft choice defensive tackle Josh Boyd.  The others included Kevin Dorsey, DuJuan Harris, Davon House, Sean Richardson, Desmond Bishop, J.C. Tretter, Derek Sherrod, Ryan Pickett and Jerel Worthy.

The team has another practice set for Wednesday at 11:30 AM, open to the publicl weather permitting, before a team building exercise planned for Thursday.  Last year, Mike McCarthy took the boys out for some trap shooting.  The final week of OTA's will have four practices next week.