- Joe Robbins/Getty
- Jordy Nelson is retiring from the NFL after ten seasons and 72 touchdown receptions.
- Nelson spent 12 hours a day working the family farm during offseasons as a player.
- He recently said that he plans to continue working on the farm after his football career is over.
Former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson is retiring from the NFL, but that doesn’t mean he is done putting in an honest day’s work.
Nelson is retiring after nine seasons with the Packers and one season with the Oakland Raiders, according to his former teammate and current NFL Network analyst James Jones.
Nelson made $56.9 million in his career, but when he wasn’t playing football, he was still working 12 hours a day on his family farm in tiny Riley, Kansas.
In an interview for 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.
- Angus TV/YouTube
“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.
Nelson was drafted in the second round in 2008 and caught 72 touchdown passes in his career. He was a Pro Bowler in 2014 and led the NFL in receiving touchdowns in 2016, with 14.
Nelson told Agriculture.com that he plans to stick to farming in retirement, but maybe not 12 hours a day.
“I do plan on farming,” Nelson said. “We plan on moving back home to Kansas and working with my brother on the farm. I don’t know if I will be doing the sun up to sun down stuff. Obviously, come harvest time, I’ll be there to help him, but I told him he can lay me off whenever he wants and I’ll go on vacation.”
During an interview with Packers.com, Nelson explained why he spent his offseasons on the farm, even the summer after he lost the entire 2015 season due to a devastating knee injury.
“Honestly, it’s great for me physically to have those long days,” Nelson said. “It prepares me for camp. It’s a lot hotter in Kansas than it is here, so it makes camp easy.”
Nelson also said farming is great for him mentally.
“It resets me mentally,” Nelson said. “It allows me to get away from football, get away from the meetings, get away from everything, kinda reset, and have that fresh mentally and physically approach coming into camp.”
In an interview with The 700 Club in 2015, Nelson also explained how life on the farm prepared him for the NFL.