GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – After a ten-year career in Green Bay, former Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson will be inducted into the team’s hall of fame on Thursday, August 31.
From being a walk-on safety as a college freshman at Kansas State to a Super Bowl champion with the green and gold, Nelson is back in Green Bay this week to add another accolade to his professional career. The former second-round draft pick will head into the Packers’ Hall of Fame with long-tenured offensive lineman Josh Sitton as the 167th and 168th player to ever receive the honor.
“What a fun journey,” Nelson expressed. “Leading up to this, talking to family and friends, just how much fun this was. It was a fun ride. We enjoyed every moment of it. A lot of people were able to join in on the ride and have a good time with it. I don’t think anyone could’ve ever wrote the script from all different angles from high school to college and then to play at a place like Green Bay that would fit my wife and I and growing a family here to perfection.”
Nelson played in 136 games for Green Bay, scoring 69 touchdowns and posting 7,848 yards from 2008-2017. His mark was left on the field by surpassing achievements not many Packers players ever reach. Nelson currently ranks fourth in receptions (550), sixth in receiving yards, third in touchdown receptions, and fourth in 100-yard receiving games (25).
In Nelson’s third season with the Packers, he was able to help power Green Bay to the Super Bowl 45 victory. Nelson was a key contributor to bringing the title back to Titletown. He holds the franchise record for most receiving yards in a Super Bowl (140) and tied Greg Jennings with the most receptions (21) in a playoff season during their 2010-11 title run.
Winning that Super Bowl was one of the many highlights when Nelson reflected on the fond memories in Green Bay.
“It was a crazy ride,” Nelson said. “When you win a championship for any team, but when you add it to the Green Bay Packers and the history that they have, obviously the Lombardi Trophy, it means a little bit more, and you can kind of forever leave your legacy here with it. To be able to do that in my third year was a lot of fun.”
What propelled Nelson’s career was his relationship with former Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The connection the two formed on the football field left life-long memories for Packers fans across the world. Nelson had 483 catches for 7,069 yards and scored 65 touchdowns in 119 games with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. He averaged 14.6 yards per reception.
“It was a lot of work on the field and in the classroom,” Nelson said on his relationship with Rodgers. “Obviously, a lot of people enjoyed the Sundays but didn’t see the behind-the-scenes and the focus. The attention to detail is, I think, what separated us from other guys. To be honest and blunt about it, that’s why some guys don’t make it. They don’t care about the details, and [Rodgers] does. It was a challenge to try and get on his level, and if you do, you’re able to have success. We’ve seen that over his time here, but different receivers. I was just fortunate to be with him for ten years and have a run like we did. It was a blessing in that aspect, but also the willingness to accept that challenge and to mentally get on his level. To be a part of that and to make those plays was a lot of fun.”
With Green Bay being the smallest major league professional sports market in North America, playing for the Packers meant strictly business for Nelson. That was something he appreciated when he was drafted by Green Bay – especially with his upbringing in Kansas.
“It was about football and nothing else. I think head coach Mike McCarthy talked about it at the beginning of every year; when you’re a part of this organization, it does everything to win championships, and that’s our one and only goal,” Nelson explained. “It was about winning championships. Nothing else. From the fans to the front office to the support staff, we all had one goal in mind. That’s why we were able to come close so many times and get one.”
During the summer of 2014, Nelson signed a four-year extension with the Packers worth $39 million and went on to prove to Green Bay’s front office that he was worthy of the contract he signed later that season. In week two against the New York Jets, Nelson posted his first career 200-yard receiving game, becoming the first Green Bay wide receiver since Javon Ward in 2004 to hit that mark. By the end of the season, Nelson went on to have a career year in receiving yards (1,519) and had his eyes set on a big follow-up season in 2015.
In 2015, Nelson’s season ended before the regular season even started due to tearing his ACL in a preseason game in Pittsburgh.
“It was an interesting year, but it’s something you just have to make adjustments to your circumstances. You have to play the hand you were dealt, and that was the hand that I was dealt that year. I focused on the rehab, and my goal was to get back for the following year,” Nelson said.
Nelson came back better than ever in 2016 as we won the NFL’s ‘Comeback Player of the Year’ award by leading the league in touchdowns (16).
“I was able to overcome a lot of things by the help of a lot of people,” Nelson expressed.
In March of 2018, Nelson saw his time with the Packers come to an end when the front office decided to release the, then, veteran wide receiver. Shortly after, he went on to sign a contract with the Raiders to start a new journey with a new team.
“It was different. It was a change of scenery. We enjoyed our time out in California, met a lot of great people, some good friends for the 12 months that we were there, and got to see a different aspect of the league,” Nelson said.
When Nelson walks across the stage and formally gets inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame later this week, emotions might hit #87, and he hopes that fans of the green and gold remember him fondly as the player he was each time he suited up on game day.
“Just a guy who kept it pretty simple; just showed up, worked, and laid it all on the line. Again, very fortunate to be here at the time that we won a championship. The one who did it the right way – either on the field or in the community,” Nelson said.