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Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson is in the second year of a four-year, $39 million contract and has already made $37 million in his career. But when the playoffs are over, he will return to his family farm in tiny Riley, Kansas, where he goes every offseason to put in a full day’s work.
In an interview for a recent issue of ESPN The Magazine, Nelson said he works up to 12 hours a day on the farm, driving a combine to cut wheat or rounding up the 1,000-cow herd in the town, whose population is 992.
“Working cattle is my favorite farm duty,” Nelson told ESPN. He said he identifies “more as a farmer” than as a football player.
Nelson said that in Riley he is “just the farm kid they have always known.”
After starring as a quarterback at Riley High School, Nelson walked on at nearby Kansas State, where he ultimately moved to wide receiver.
Since being drafted in the second round in 2008, Nelson has caught 63 touchdown passes, including a league-leading 14 this season, and was a Pro Bowler in 2014.
In an interview with The 700 Club in 2015, Nelson explained how life on the farm prepared him for the NFL.