Jordy Nelson says he is done with the NFL and has no desire to come back for the 2020 season, but he did express interest a year ago in reuniting with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
Nelson said recently on ESPN Wisconsin he spoke with Rodgers before the 2019 season about the possibility of coming back to Green Bay, but the Packers weren’t interested in re-signing the veteran pass-catcher — who turned 35 in May — after already releasing him once before.
“I don’t know how serious they got, just because there’s only so much control that we had over it. There’s other people in the organization who make those decisions.” Nelson said during a guest appearance on ESPN’s “Wilde and Tausch” radio show. “So I wasn’t going to dive into a hardcore conversation unless I knew there was a chance to come back. I think (Rodgers) knew deep down that if there was an opportunity right after Oakland, I probably would have [returned]. But obviously it’s not up to us.”
Nelson also wasn’t shy about the impact he believes he could have made on the Packers over the past two seasons had they not decided to unceremoniously cut him in March 2018.
“I definitely think I could have helped them,” Nelson said during a guest appearance on ESPN’s “Wilde and Tausch” radio show. “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.’ I think the track record between Aaron and I, I think we could have been productive no matter what year it would have been.
“I think 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 (help).”
Nelson caught 550 passes for 7,848 yards and 69 touchdowns during his 10 seasons with the Packers, finishing with more than 1,000 receiving yards in four seasons and forming a dynamic tandem with Rodgers that yielded much success for Green Bay. He played a major role in the Packers’ Super Bowl XLV win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2011 and finished his career with several distinctions, including second-team All-Pro (2014), NFL touchdown leader (2016) and NFL Comeback Player of the Year (2016).
The Packers would have almost certainly benefitted from Nelson’s experience and his connection with Rodgers if they had decided to bring him back for the 2019 season, as finding regular receiving production alongside star Davante Adams was a seasonlong challenge. It would be a stretch to assume, though, that his presence alone could have changed the final outcome and helped the Packers avoid an embarrassing loss in the NFC championship game.
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Nelson Stands Firm on NFL Retirement
While he feels like he could have given more to the Packers before hanging up his cleats, Nelson seems adamant the moment for his possible return has passed.
“We’re not coming back. There’s no doubt about that. We’re done,” Nelson told Wilde during his radio interview. “I’ve always laughed and talked to Emily about it — when you first get in the NFL and you’re performing very well, you’re underpaid; and then when you sign a big contract, you become overpaid. When you’re towards the end of your career, you get released and people say you’re too slow, you’ve lost a step, you can’t play anymore; and then apparently when you retire, everybody wants you to come back.
“I’m confused on what I need to do, so I’ll just stay at home. No one’s ever satisfied.”
Meanwhile, the Packers will head into the 2020 season with much of last year’s receiving corps still intact. Familiar names like Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling figure to top candidates for increased playing time, but others such as Devin Funchess (free-agent signing), Equanimeous St. Brown (missed 2019 with injury) and Reggie Begelton (CFL signing) will all be gunning for the opportunity to contribute behind Adams.