For almost a decade, Jordy Nelson called Green Bay, Wis., home.
In nine seasons with the Green Bay Packers, the former Kansas State Wildcat totaled 550 receptions, 7,848 receiving yards, and 69 touchdowns, but the storied franchise decided this offseason it was time to part ways.
After joining the Raiders in March, a mere five months ago, Nelson will face his former squad for the first time this Friday night, but he’s expecting it to be like any other game.
“Emotionally it won’t be a problem,” Nelson said Monday. “It’ll be fun to see those guys, not only the players, the trainers, the equipment staff, weight staff, all those guys that I was with for 10 years. Those are the guys you miss that you see day-to-day that you don’t get to talk to as much as you’re used to. It’ll be good to see them, and it’s kind of enjoyable that it’s a preseason game, so we can have some fun. Get in and get out.”
Packers quarterback – and one of the best to play the position – Aaron Rodgers has been very outspoken about his disapproval of the team letting Nelson walk, and join the Silver and Black. While he’s happy for his friend and former teammate, the connection the duo shared on the field was special, and as a result of Nelson’s departure, Rodgers lost his favorite target.
The Packers didn’t lose just Nelson however, as Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden also managed to lure wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett away from the team as well. Bennett’s decision to join the Raiders played a role in Nelson’s decision, and it also helped No. 82’s transition from Green Bay to the Bay Area.
“[It didn’t take] as long as I thought it was going to be,” Nelson said when asked about how long it took him to get acclimated to his new team and city. “I can’t get you a day, or two, or whatever it is, and I don’t know if that’s because of the whole change over on the coaching staff too. I mean there was a lot of new faces that came in at the same time, so that might’ve made it easier. Once we got into football it felt natural, it felt normal, and when we get out on the practice field it’s football again.
“It’s one less person I had to figure out who he was. I’ve known him 10 years – or 11 now – so obviously I know what his expectations are and the way he coaches, and the way he demands, and what he demands from his receivers. That was a big reason why [I joined the Raiders].”
In the short time he’s been a Raider, Nelson has conducted himself with the utmost professionalism – as he’s done for the entirety of his career – and it’s clear he’s not about to get wrapped up in the drama of facing his former team.
That being said, the 33-year-old is prepping for the regular season, and he’s going about his business the same way he always does.
“Same thing I’ve been accomplishing the last two weeks,” he said when asked how he’s getting ready for the start of the regular season. “Continuing getting chemistry with Derek [Carr], continue getting in shape, everything that you can slowly build towards the season. Obviously it’s going to be here quick, this is a decently short week, and we’ll be into another one next week. But just building that chemistry and that work, and continue to grow not only through these next couple weeks, but throughout the whole season.”
Nelson has received minimal reps during the preseason, and for good reason, considering he doesn’t have much to prove at this point of his career, but I’m sure he’ll get a healthy amount of run against his former team this Friday.
The Raiders and the Packers will kick off Friday night at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum at 7:30 p.m. PDT.