Jordy Nelson’s Packers career, by the numbers
Jordy Nelson is back.
The former Green Bay Packers receiver returned to Wisconsin on Tuesday to celebrate his retirement with the team that drafted him.
A second-round pick out of Kansas State in 2008, Nelson spent a decade in Green Bay, leading the Packers in receiving yards four times in 10 seasons.
Such a reunion seemed, at one point, less-than-certain.
The Packers unceremoniously parted ways with Nelson, then 32, prior to the 2018 season, a decision that rankled Nelson and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
He spent 2018 with Jon Gruden’s Oakland Raiders, compiling a respectable 739 receiving yards and three touchdowns in 15 games as part of an anemic offense that averaged just 5.4 yards per play.
No hard feelings, apparently.
“I’ll be remembered as a Packer,” Nelson said Tuesday. “Obviously I enjoyed my year last year in Oakland. But this is where I started and it’s great to come back and end it that way.”
Once the leader of the Packers’ receiving corps, Nelson quickly emerged as Rodgers’ favorite target. The two terrorized the NFC North with picturesque back-shoulder fades and game-winning drives for the better part of five seasons from 2011-16.
The two are inexorably linked: Nelson debuted in 2008, Rodgers’ first season as the Packers’ starting quarterback.
He had a game-high 140 receiving yards and a touchdown in the Super Bowl following the 2010 season and broke out the following year, when Rodgers won his first MVP award.
Nelson’s most-productive season: 2014, when Rodgers won his second.
Not even a full year apart could disrupt their chemistry. Nelson missed all of 2015 after suffering a torn ACL in the preseason, returning in 2016 to lead the league with 14 touchdown receptions and win the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award.
Nelson had 6,098 receiving yards and 57 touchdown receptions from 2011-16 — eighth and third in the NFL over that span — despite appearing in just 76 of a possible 96 games.
He finishes his career near the top of the Packers’ leaderboards: Second in touchdown catches — only Hall of Famer Don Hutson, who played in the pre-merger NFL from 1935-45, has more — third in receptions and 100-yard games, fourth in 1,000-yard seasons and fifth in total receiving yards.
And while Nelson’s successor, 26-year-old Davante Adams, is well on his way to challenging Nelson’s dominance, he’s virtually alone there.
Adams is the only Packers receiver to reach 1,000 receiving yards since Nelson’s departure, while just three other pass-catchers — Randall Cobb, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and tight end Jimmy Graham — have gone for more than 500 yards in a single season.