"My body feels great and that was one reason why I wanted to retire. Honestly I didn't want to push it another year, another year and not feel great"
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) May 22, 2020
Jordy Nelson wasn’t exactly at the the peak of his powers in his final season for the Raiders. Just shy of 740 yards, 5.9 targets per game, nothing as otherwordly as his best days in Green Bay. But as a solid route runner with plenty of mental game (add that to your list of positive “white skill player” descriptors), he likely could have cashed a few more checks along the way.
The thing that jumped out to me in this interview with my ol’ pal Pat McAfee is that it’s just nice to hear a player like Jordy Nelson retire for these reasons. I’ve grown accustomed to guys who’ve retired because they simply couldn’t find a gig or, worse, the specter of CTE that has resulted in more players leaving the field at the peak of their earning powers. But Jordy Nelson didn’t want to move his family all around immediately after they were uprooted from Green Bay to Northern California, a very relatable situation, particularly in the current world’s state.
Especially since, as Jordy mentioned, he’d had 10 years in the league. Even compared to most modern careers for us normal people, that’s a long time working in one job. He’s made around $50 million in his playing career so his family and likely future generations will have a decent leg up. The idea of turning your family into nomads to diminishing on-field results is one we may romanticize as fans because we grow to love these dudes and don’t want to see them out of our lives. But he has kids and they’re the ones who need him in their lives way more than we do. Jordy has made his money and can afford to be at home to make his kids into future little Jordy Nelsons if that’s the path they choose. That’s the (very athletic person’s) American dream.
With so many guys out there who have football ripped from their hands or who have to get away for self-preservation, it’s practically a feel-good story to see a dude who’s fulfilled and leaves the game without a single regret. Good for Jordy Nelson even if this meme below sums up Aaron Rodgers’s attempts to fill the white wide receiver hole in his heart that Jordy’s absence left behind:
Or maybe it’s this one:
Or perhaps it’s this one when the preseason hype goes Jake Sternberger’s way this offseason: