Green Bay welcomes back Jordy Nelson to retire as Packer

Courtesy of WBAY
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GREEN BAY, Wisc. (WIBW) - When you call somewhere home for 10 years, it doesn't just become home for you.

Jordy Nelson learned that by making an NFL career in Green Bay with the Packers. And even now that he's moved back to his real home of Kansas with his family, one of his kids can remind him of just how much a place like Green Bay can mean.

"We just moved back to Kansas and I told my oldest we were moving home and he said, 'Nuh uh, home to me is Green Bay,'" Nelson said. "And I'm like well, valid, you spent eight years and were born there. So it's interesting to hear that aspect of it."

Nelson's professional home welcomed him back on Tuesday to officially retire as a Packer. Coming from a rural, small town like Riley County, Nelson said landing in Green Bay when the team drafted him in 2008 was an ideal situation for he and his wife.

"Green Bay was a big city for us," Nelson said. "But it obviously still had the Midwest people. The rural area allowed us to get comfortable and didn't have the overwhelming transition of going to a ginormous city where we would kind of get lost in it."

Instead, he quickly acclimated to not just the town, but the team. The former wide receiver found a place to fit his background and a locker room to fit his personality.

"They hardly talked and they just worked," Nelson said of his Packer teammates. "It set the standard and it was easy to step right into that."

What made it even easier was having a quarterback the former Wildcat star would form a very productive relationship with: two-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers.

"Nobody personified class or what it means to be a Packer, that I played with, more than that guy," Rodgers said of Nelson.

Rodgers and Nelson combined to form one of the most dynamic duos in NFL history. Together, they racked up 6,919 yards (9.8 yards per attempt), 65 touchdowns, 324 total first downs and a passer rating of 123.9. That last figure is the highest mark for a quarterback-wide receiver tandem since 2014.

The two credit all of that success to a rare relationship.

"We just kind of always had that ability to click," Rodgers said. "An unspoken connection, the back shoulder throws, the ability to throw it out to a spot and know he's going to be there."

"A lot of it is just paying attention and listening and absorbing it," Nelson said. "Trying to see the game the same way he did, I don't know if it's possible, but we tried as hard as possible to get there. It made the game very simple for us."

Simple enough to help Nelson rank second in franchise history in touchdowns (69), third in receptions (550), fifth in receiving yards (7,848) and win a Super Bowl. Never the type to talk about himself, he cites a simple approach for such a successful career.

"I've had a lot of people ask questions of what the secret is," Nelson said. "How do we get faster, how do you get whatever. And it's just work, pay attention and do what you're asked."

And find the perfect fit. That helps too.