GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - From team president Mark Murphy to former teammates and fans, Jordy Nelson is being praised for being the ultimate Packer both on and off the field.
The former Packers wide receiver, who played 10 seasons (2008-17) in Green Bay, signed a one-day contract Tuesday to retire from the NFL in a Packers jersey.
He is one of the greatest receivers in Packers history, ranking second in touchdowns and third in receptions. He's also the only player in Packers history to score 13 or more touchdowns in three separate seasons.
The fan favorite arrived in Green Bay humble, and he left the same way. At a news conference Tuesday morning. He didn't read a prepared statement but simply began taking questions from reporters after an introduction by Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy. Nelson grinned widely as he came to the podium.
Nelson said he made the decision to retire with Green Bay "a couple days to a week after I finished playing."
Murphy recalled in his first year as Packers president, then-general manager Ted Thompson drafted Nelson in the second round (No. 36 overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft out of Kansas State.
"He was really excited when Jordy was still available," Murphy remembered, "and I remember him saying our fans are going to love Jordy Nelson, and boy was Ted right."
Nelson played in 136 regular-season games with 88 starts during his 10 seasons with Green Bay.
In his third year, Nelson picked a great time for his breakout performance with 9 catches for more than 140 yards in helping the Packers defeat the Steelers in Super Bowl 45.
From then on he was considered one of the best in the game.
"Like any athlete you remember the bad as well as the good, but hopefully you enjoy the good," he said, discussing his memories with the team.
He said his goal as a player was to "never have to be told the same thing twice." He said his connection with Aaron Rodgers developed early because he focused on paying attention and listening.
"I mean, if Aaron was talking with Donald or Greg or those guys, I wanted to be able to learn, if it was from their mistakes or what they did well, to where, then he didn't have to tell me a couple years later."
Nelson finished his career playing one season (2018) with the Oakland Raiders, where he appeared in 15 games with 14 starts and recorded 63 receptions for 739 yards (11.7 avg.) and three touchdowns.
He said his body was okay but it was getting "harder and harder to get ready for Sundays." But the main reason for his decision to leave the game was his family. After a year in California he looked at other teams but didn't want to keep moving his family around the country.
Feels Like Home
The Kansas native said in June he would return in August to sign a one-day contract with the Packers.
He said becoming a Packer was the perfect fit for him and his wife, Emily.
"Green Bay was a big city to us from where we grew up, but obviously still had the Midwest people, the rural area, and allowed us to be comfortable and didn't have overwhelming transition of going to a ginormous city where we would kind of get lost in it."
He said when they moved back to Kansas, his oldest child pointed out Green Bay is where he was born and spent 8 years of his life.
"It was a great opportunity to spend 10 years here, start our family here. We just moved back to Kansas, and I told my oldest we were moving home, and he says, 'Uh-uh. Home to me is Green Bay.'"
He added his oldest child was looking forward on this trip to seeing the players he grew up with who are still here. "I think we came up with five."
Nelson said he's grateful for the many friends he's made in Wisconsin and plans to return often and stay connected. For Packers fans, the connection with Jordy Nelson was genuine.
"I think Jordy Nelson was born to be a Packer. He's just one of those guys that really represented Green Bay well. He played hard. He was a good person on and off the field," Curt Hanson from Sheboygan said.
"He was a great guy. I mean, he was a good man, and he seemed to be a good representation of the Packers," Renee Roble from Appleton said.
Murphy praised, "As great a player as Jordy was, in my mind what really stands out about Jordy is the quality of the person, just as fine a person as you'll ever meet. He was humble. Stayed true to his roots."
Roots that stem from a farm in Kansas which, now that his playing days are over, has called him home. Nelson plans to help his brother on the farm and get his kids ready for the new school year.
"We were just square baling the other day, and we stopped at 10:30 in the evening and put up a couple hundred bales, and it was fun. I hadn't done it in a long time," Nelson said.
"My wife's family is there, my family is there, and that's our entertainment: Go out in the backyard, hang out with the family, and make memories."
Nelson ranks No. 3 in franchise history in receptions (550), No. 5 in receiving yards (7,848), No. 2 in touchdown receptions (69) and No. 3 in 100-yard receiving games (25).
Nelson is the only player in team annals to record three seasons with 13-plus touchdown receptions (2011, 2014, 2016). He and Sterling Sharpe (1992-94) are the only players in franchise history to register three straight seasons with 85-plus receptions (2013-14, 2016).
Nelson posted 1,250-plus receiving yards and 13-plus touchdown catches in the same season three times in his career (2011, 2014, 2016), the fourth most in NFL history behind Hall of Famers Jerry Rice (six), Randy Moss (five) and Terrell Owens (four).
Nelson was selected to the Pro Bowl and named second-team All-Pro by The Associated Press for his performance during the 2014 season in which he set career highs in receptions (98) and receiving yards (franchise-record 1,519) while also hauling in 13 touchdowns. After he missed the entire 2015 season due to a knee injury, Nelson became the first Packer to be named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year by AP after registering 1,257 yards on 97 receptions (13.0 avg.) with a league-high 14 receiving TDs in 2016.
In his 10 seasons with the Packers, Nelson started eight of the 13 postseason games he appeared in. He is the franchise postseason leader with 54 receptions, ranks No. 4 in receiving yards (668) and is tied for No. 3 in receiving TDs (five). Nelson led the Packers with nine receptions for 140 yards (15.6 avg.) and a TD in the Super Bowl XLV victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Nelson was just the fourth receiver in Super Bowl history with nine-plus receptions for at least 140 yards and a touchdown.