SE: Ring of Honor Part 3 | Nelson’s Hard Work Pays Off

Jordy Nelson’s fondest memories of K-State didn’t happen on the football field. They didn’t happen in the locker room. No, his fondest memories happened in the parking lot.
  
“My best memory was tailgating and watching these two play,” laughed Nelson as he pointed across the room at K-State greats Michael Bishop and Darren Sproles. “Tailgating, playing football games on the hill before the team came out and then sitting in the south end zone watching them play. That, to me, was the best.” 
  
Nelson, like Sproles and Bishop, traveled to Manhattan two weeks ago to be inducted into the K-State Football Ring of Honor and enjoyed spending the weekend being a fan again. 
  
He hadn’t been back to K-State for a football game since 2011, he said, and hadn’t had the opportunity to tailgate with family and friends in more than a decade. 
  
“It’s actually one of the things I was looking forward to the most this weekend,” he continued the day before the Wildcats’ home opener against South Dakota. “My family and I will be out there tailgating. It’s something I haven’t done in like 12 years, so I’m excited to do it again.”
  
Nelson grew up around K-State football. A Leonardville, Kansas, native, it was always his dream to play in Bill Snyder Family Stadium. 
  
“When I decided to walk on at K-State, it was an opportunity,” said Nelson. “I could have went somewhere else, got a scholarship at a lower level school, but I wanted to see what could happen.”
  
So, while he could have gone to a smaller school, he decided to take a chance with the Wildcats in 2003 – the beginning of what would become a remarkable football career.
  
He began his time at K-State as a defensive back, but before his sophomore season head coach Bill Snyder moved Nelson to wide receiver. It turned out to be a smart switch as, after a phenomenal senior year, Nelson was named a 2007 Consensus All-American and was a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award. In 2007, Nelson set Wildcat records for receptions in a game and in a season, receiving yards in a game and in a season and yards per game in a season. 
  
He finished the year with 122 catches for 1,606 yards and 11 touchdowns and went on to be chosen 36th overall by Green Bay in the 2008 NFL Draft.
  
And he’s been with Green Bay ever since. 
  
“I’ve always kept it simple,” explained Nelson when asked how he went from a college football walk-on to a NFL Pro Bowler. “Everyone always asks what has allowed me to do what I do, and I keep it simple: working hard and doing what I’m asked to do. It’s no secret. Obviously God blessed me with great athletic ability and speed, but at the end of the day, if you don’t work hard, that’s not going to amount to anything. If you don’t do what your coaches ask you, you’re not going to amount to anything.  
  
“When I came here and walked on at K-State, I never thought any of this would happen,” he continued. “I knew it’d be my best opportunity to do things, to possibly make a career out of it, but even then, the chances were slim. I just knew I wanted to be a part of the program and things just snowballed. The only thing I knew I could do was work hard and do what the coaches asked, and I’d see where that got me and obviously it got me a long ways and into a great career.”
  
In his time with the Packers, Nelson has become one of the most notable wide receivers in the NFL. Along with becoming one of the greatest in his position in franchise history, he has helped the Packers to a Super Bowl XLV victory (2011) and was also selected to play in the Pro Bowl in 2014. 
  
He has totaled 400 receptions, 6,109 yards and 49 touchdowns with the Packers and, though he is unfortunately out this season with a recent ACL tear, he plans on recovering and coming back stronger than ever in 2016.
  
“Obviously I’d rather be healthy and playing, but I’ve got a good mindset,” said Nelson of his recent injury that happened in the Packers’ preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. “I’m ready to get surgery over with and move forward towards recovery. It’ll be a long journey, but it’s something I’m actually looking forward to. I’ve accepted the challenge, so hopefully I’ll come back better, get a few more years in this game, and then I’ll be done.”
  
Nelson said while he’s missed games with smaller injuries during the course of his football career, this year will mark the first time in 18 years that he will have to sit out an entire season. 
  
But among the tough times he’s faced as of recent because of his injury, his induction into the K-State Ring of Honor was a bright spot. 
  
“It’s always great to be back. This is home,” said Nelson. “But to be here for this honor, it’s mind-blowing, humbling, shocking.”
  
With his Ring of Honor induction, Nelson’s name will now forever be a part of Bill Snyder Family Stadium for fans to see. However, the Ring of Honor isn’t the only place his name is featured. Just recently, Nelson and his wife, Emily, made a generous philanthropic contribution to K-State Athletics and, in recognition of their contribution, K-State Athletics Director John Currie announced that the football team’s locker room will be forever known as the Nelson Family Locker Room. 
  
Now, every time Wildcat players step foot into their locker room, they’ll be reminded of Nelson’s story – one of hard work and determination. 
  
“K-State has meant so much to me and to my family. I grew up coming to games, my wife grew up coming to games,” said Nelson. “Obviously being a part of this program speaks for itself in what it’s given back to me, so to be a part of it, to continue to build K-State up and the great things you can do here, it’s something we thought long and hard about. It wasn’t an easy decision, but we wanted to be a part of a great movement in what they’ve done. I think the timing was just right. It was something we wanted to do.”
   
K-State Sports Extra will continue its four-part series on this year’s Ring of Honor Inductees with the final story featuring Darren Sproles on Wednesday, Sept. 16. To read Part 1 | Michael Bishop Seizes Opportunity, please click here. To check out Part 2 | Clarence Scott Celebrates Exciting Football Past, please click here.
  

We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact Kelly McHugh, or K-State Assistant AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.