GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – The Green Bay Packers enshrined Jordy Nelson and Josh Sitton into their Hall of Fame on Thursday night.
The event brought together hundreds of their family, friends, old teammates and coaches, and their fans. Familiar faces in the crowd included Mason Crosby, A.J. Hawk, Clay Matthews, and David Bakhtiari among many other current and former Packer players.
There were also many faces that may be less familiar to Packer fans that were integral in shaping each player. People like George O’Leary who was Josh Sitton’s coach at the University of Central Florida.
“When you go to any Hall of Fame it’s a great honor and that’s the least I can do as his past head coach is to come here and honor him,” said O’Leary.
He said he flew from Atlanta to attend the ceremony. Several of Sitton’s college teammates were also in attendance.
O’Leary described Sitton as a quiet leader who was tough and very athletic. He recruited Sitton out of Pensacola Catholic High School back in 2004.
“I’m just so proud of him, I wanted to make sure that he saw me here and wish him all the best,” said O’Leary. “I’m very happy for him and his family.”
Sitton recalled the moment he knew he could make it in the NFL in a press conference before the Hall of Fame ceremony. It happened early on in training camp when he held his own in one-on-one drills against veteran defensive linemen like Ryan Pickett, Cullen Jenkins, and Johnny Jolly.
He said he took a lot of pride in his durability and toughness.
Sitton chose his former offensive line coach James Campen as his presenter for the ceremony, a man he said had a huge impact on his life.
“When you’re a 21-year-old cocky idiot you really don’t think about that as much,” said Sitton. “You become a man, have children and grow, and when these things come up you start to think about the number of people who have touched your life.”
Among Sitton’s career accomplishments:
- Selected to the Pro Bowl four times
- Super Bowl champion
- Second-team all-pro honoree three times
- 2010 offensive lineman of the year
“Thank you to the best fanbase in the entire world, there’s nobody better than you guys,” said Sitton.” Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d get drafted by the Green Bay Packers, the greatest organization in all of sports, and be standing here today accepting induction into this exclusive club.”
The Packers drafted both Sitton and Nelson in 2008.
Among Nelson’s career accomplishments:
- Selected to the Pro Bowl
- Super Bowl champion
- 2016 Comeback Player of the Year
That Comeback Player of the Year award came after he tore his ACL. He and his presenter assistant athletic trainer Nate Weir shared that on the day of that injury, Weir initially played dumb about the extent of the injury because they didn’t want him to have a strong reaction to the news while still on the field.
Nelson spoke about his appreciation for the athletic training staff for a large portion of his speech.
“This organization wouldn’t be the same without guys like you dealing with all of us,” said Nelson.
In his speech, Nelson thanked all the other people who helped him on his football journey.
“As you come into a new place there’s lots of unknown. Lucky for us coming from rural Kansas, Green Bay couldn’t be a better fit. It felt like home immediately,” said Nelson.
To watch Local Five’s full interview with Jordy Nelson please click here.
During the Hall of Fame ceremony, both former coach Mike McCarthy and former quarterback Aaron Rodgers did pre-recorded video messages congratulating Sitton and Nelson.
“I’m not a very emotional guy, but I’ll be very, very happy inside seeing him get inducted into the Hall of Fame,” said O’Leary.