The Green Bay Packers have the second-most former players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Only the Chicago Bears have more. Indeed, being immortalized in Canton is something that all players aspire to. However, there is something bigger about such an honor for those that have played for the NFL’s oldest franchise. LeRoy Butler, who was finally inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2022, was the last former Packers player to be inducted. Now, with the Hall of Fame class of 2023 announced, those who are eligible for induction for the first time in 2024 have been announced. Among these great players are two former Green Bay Packers:
First-time eligibles for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2024 include Julius Peppers, Antonio Gates, Eric Berry, Brandon Marshall, Haloti Ngata, Jamaal Charles, Doug Baldwin, Jordy Nelson, Connor Barwin, Sebastian Janikowski, Kyle Williams and Andrew Luck.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 10, 2023
As seen in Adam Schefter’s Tweet above, Jordy Nelson and Julius Peppers will be eligible for induction for the first time in 2024.
Jordy Nelson with the Green Bay Packers
One-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Jordy Nelson was first drafted by the Packers in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Many fans may not choose to remember this, but it took nearly three full seasons for Nelson to reach the level of play for which he is remembered. In fact, one could argue that his breakout game was Super Bowl XLV, which the Packers won in Nelson’s third season. In that memorable contest, he had nine receptions for 140 yards and a touchdown.
In 2012, Nelson’s fourth season, he had the first of four career 1,000-yard season. That year, he had 68 receptions for 1,263 yards and 15 touchdowns. His touchdown total that year was more than double the amount of touchdowns he scored in his first three seasons combined (six).
After a “down” year in 2013, Nelson had three-consecutive seasons of 1,000+ yards (though he did sit out 2015 due to a torn ACL). In ’13, he had 85 receptions for 1,314 yards and eight touchdowns. The next year, 2014, Nelson had one of the best seasons ever by a Packers wide receiver, catching 98 passes for 1,519 yards (a team record at that point) and 13 touchdowns. He was named to his first and only Pro Bowl that year.
After sitting out 2015 with a torn ACL, Nelson won the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2016 after hauling in 97 receptions for 1,257 yards and a league-leading 14 touchdowns.
2017 saw Nelson post his worst numbers since his first two seasons in the NFL. He had just 53 receptions for 482 yards and six touchdowns. After the year, Green Bay released Nelson to save space on the salary cap. He signed with the Oakland Raiders where he had 63 receptions for 739 yards and three touchdowns in his final NFL season.
Julius Peppers with the Green Bay Packers
Green Bay is not known for splash free agent signings. Indeed, the list of earth-moving players that the franchise has pursued is quite short. Reggie White and Charles Woodson, of course, are at the top of this list. However, the signing of Julius Peppers in 2014 should also be on that list. Unfortunately, Green Bay was unable to win a Super Bowl during his three seasons with the team as they did with White and Woodson.
In 2014, his first year with the Packers, Peppers had 43 tackles, 7.0 sacks, four forced fumbles, and two interceptions that he returned for touchdowns. The next season, Peppers had 37 tackles, 10.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. He was named to his ninth and final Pro Bowl that season. In his final year in Green Bay, Peppers had 23 tackles and 7.0 sacks.
After his time in Green Bay came to an end, Peppers spent the final two years of his career with the Carolina Panthers, with whom he spent the first eight years of his career. Peppers also spent four seasons with the Chicago Bears prior to signing with Green Bay.
Peppers’ 159.5 career stats unofficially are the fifth most in NFL history, but officially rank fourth.
For More Great Wisconsin Sports Content
Follow me on Twitter at @theotherRobin19 and follow us @WiSportsHeroics for more great content. To read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest in Wisconsin sports, click here!