While the coaching and medical staffs continue to keep their collective foot on the brakes, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson said he’s ready to roll.
“If there’s a game Sunday, I’m playing,” Nelson declared after Thursday’s organized team activity.
Nelson’s comeback from a torn ACL took another step forward during a sunny midday workout on Ray Nitschke Field. While he again said he wouldn’t be allowed to participate in any 11-on-11 drills until training camp, Nelson caught passes from quarterback Aaron Rodgers and also ran a couple of routes during individual drills.
“There’s some things that I can do out there,” Nelson said. “All the stuff on Aaron and everything, I could do it competitively. But, obviously, we’re going to smart with it when there’s no reason to (push it). Obviously, I experienced last year not being out there. You want to be out there and you want to have fun, so it’s nice to at least be out there and catching some balls and have the jersey on and cleats on and not 100 percent in tennis shoes and being a coach.”
Catching passes from Rodgers might seem like minor stuff but not so to coach Mike McCarthy.
“It’s very important for Jordy Nelson to catch the football from Aaron Rodgers,” McCarthy said. “I think that’s something that can’t get lost in his coming back. Jordy’s human. Aaron throws the football differently than the other quarterbacks that we have here. So, it’s important for him to get that timing, to see that football come out of his hand or get his head around when the ball is in the air, all those types of things. It was good to see that process get started today.”
In 2008, the Packers used their first draft pick on Nelson and appointed Rodgers their starting quarterback. They’ve put up some monster numbers together, with Rodgers boasting the best passer rating in NFL history and Nelson posting a 2014 season that rivals many of the top receiving seasons in NFL history.
Could seven years of chemistry be undone by one torn ACL?
Not a chance, receiver Randall Cobb said.
“It will be like riding a bicycle,” Cobb said. “They’ll be right back on track.”
Nelson wouldn’t go nearly so far, though he does have history on his side. After missing all but one series in the 2013 preseason due to a knee injury, Nelson opened the campaign by catching seven passes for 130 yards and one touchdown vs. San Francisco. He finished that year with 85 catches for 1,314 yards and eight touchdowns.
“We’ll wait and see,” he said. “I can’t sit here and say it’ll be an easy adjustment. A couple years ago, I missed pretty much 90 percent of training camp and came back a week before the regular season and had a good year. It’s there. I was in the meetings, I know everything. I think that’s huge. We have an extra week of training camp to figure that out, so we’ll be fine.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.