Packers’ Jolly suspended indefinitely

Green Bay Packers

Starting DE Johnny Jolly has been suspended by the NFL indefinitely without pay for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. Jolly’s suspension begins immediately and will continue through at least the 2010 season. He will be eligible to apply for reinstatement following Super Bowl XLV. Notice the league announced he violated the Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. That would indicate that he was already in the league’s Drug Program.

During his suspension, Jolly will be dealing with a possible sentence for up to 20 years in prison stemming from drug charges in Houston after he was charged with possessing 200 milligrams of codeine. Jolly was arrested after that incident in Houston two years ago, but he’s scheduled to go on trial July 30.

Jolly has been an important part of Green Bay’s defensive line the past two seasons, starting all 32 regular season games. But Green Bay should be able to survive his absence.

The team selected DL B.J. Raji with their first-round pick in 2009, who is capable of playing end and nose tackle in their 3-4 scheme. 2007 first-rounder Justin Harrell and 2010 second-rounder Mike Neal will be expected to contribute. However, Harrell has been a major disappointment due in part to injury problems.

Jolly will lose out on all of the $2.521 million from his one-year restricted free agent tender, which he signed last month.

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks starting OLB Leroy Hill has been suspended one game by the NFL for violating the league’s policy on substance abuse. He’ll also be docked one additional game check.

Hill pleaded guilty recently to a misdemeanor drug possession charge in Georgia, which made it pretty close to a lock that he would at least receive a short suspension based on his off-the-field history. He’s also still dealing with a domestic assault charge stemming from an incident in April.

Hill can practice with the team during training camp, can participate in preseason games, but can’t practice or be with the team during the first week of the regular season. He’s eligible to return to the team for the second game of the season at the Denver Broncos.

Hill, who carries a base salary of $6 million for the 2010 season, will lose roughly $705,882 (two game checks). Fourth-year LB Will Herring figures to fill in for Hill.

Atlanta Falcons

As first reported by FOXSports.com, the Atlanta Falcons have signed fifth-round pick WR Kerry Meier (6-2, 224, Kansas) to a four-year deal worth $1.95 million. The deal includes a signing bonus worth roughly $157,000, a source said.

Meier is an intriguing prospect. He started off his collegiate career as a quarterback, but got moved to receiver full-time after his sophomore season.

As a personnel source said, Meier works well in space and possesses good hands. He’ll give Atlanta some size to their slot receiver position, and he’ll have an advantage over slot cornerbacks, who are usually small.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals have signed fourth-round pick DT Geno Atkins (6-1, 290, Georgia), the team announced. A league source said Atkins signed a four-year deal worth roughly $2.22 million. The deal includes a signing bonus worth roughly $472,500.

Personnel sources said Atkins, when he’s at the top of his game, can be an explosive and disruptive force. However, he’s been way too inconsistent, which is why he didn’t go higher than the fourth round.

NFL Films’ Greg Cosell told FOXSports.com recently that he thought DT Jeff Owens (Georgia), drafted in seventh round this year by the Philadelphia Eagles, was more impressive than Atkins during the games he watched.

Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns finally announced Friday fifth-round pick S Larry Asante (6-0, 210, Nebraska) to a multi-year deal. As first reported by FOXSports.com on Wednesday, Asante signed a four-year deal worth roughly $1.96 million. The contract includes a signing bonus worth close to $169,000.

Asante, known as a big hitter in scouting circles, is expected to get a chance to compete for a starting job in training camp.