Jordy Nelson knows there’s still something left in the tank. He’s also very content in retirement. Because of the connection he had with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the former Green Bay Packers wide receiver knows he could have made a difference with the team during the last two seasons.
Jordy Nelson’s football career
Jordy Nelson played his college football at Kansas State and was a second-round pick by the Green Bay Packers in the 2008 NFL draft. Nelson eased his way into the Packers lineup and didn’t have his breakout season until 2011. During that year, Nelson had his first 1,000-yard season with 1,263 yards and added 15 touchdowns.
After injuries limited him to 12 games in 2012, Nelson strung together three straight seasons in which he racked up better than 1,250 yards each year. His best season came in 2014 when he finished with a career-high 1,519 receiving yards while catching 13 touchdowns. He made his lone Pro Bowl that season.
Nelson was forced to miss the 2015 season after tearing his right ACL in a preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He bounced back with a strong 2016 season, leading the league in touchdown receptions with 14. In 2017, quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down with a fractured collarbone and Nelson’s production suffered. He caught 53 passes for 482 yards and six touchdowns. Nelson was released in 2018 and signed with the Oakland Raiders, where he had 739 yards and three touchdowns.
Nelson was willing to return to the Packers
In March of 2019, Jordy Nelson was released by the Oakland Raiders after one season. Two weeks later, Nelson announced his retirement from the NFL. Last August, Nelson signed a one-day contract to retire with the Green Bay Packers.
When he was released by the Raiders, there was speculation the Packers may look to bring him back. There was no clear-cut No. 2 receiver on the team and he was already familiar with the offense and had a good rapport with Aaron Rodgers. “I think (Rodgers) knew deep down that if there was an opportunity right after Oakland, I probably would have (come back),” Nelson told the Wisconsin State Journal in June. “But obviously, it’s not up to us.”
Nelson did say he and Rodgers did have some conversation about a possible reunion. “I don’t know how serious they got, just because there’s only so much control that we had over it,” Nelson said. “There’s other people in the organization who make those decisions, make that decision on who’s on the team and who’s not. So I wasn’t going to dive into a hard-core conversation unless I knew there was a chance to come back.”
Nelson insists he could have helped the Packers
Ever since Jordy Nelson left, the Packers have struggled with their wide receiver group. Davante Adams is the clear-cut No. 1, but after him nobody else has stepped up. When Nelson was released in Green Bay, the Packers went 6-9-1. Much of that had to do with quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ broken collarbone, but outside of Adams, there wasn’t much in the WR department.
“I definitely think I could have helped them and I don’t know what kind of player I’d be if I sat here and said, ‘No, I wouldn’t have been able to help them,’” Nelson told the Wisconsin State Journal.
“I think the track record between Aaron and I, I think we could have been productive no matter what year it would have been. We proved it over the time, year-in and year-out. We were both very productive. And until proven otherwise, I would say yes, I would have been able to.”