Comeback Complete: Jordy Nelson wins NFL Comeback Player of the Year

After tearing his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) last year in a preseason game in Pittsburgh, Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson missed the entire 2015 season and spent a majority of the following offseason rehabbing in hopes that he could be ready to play in time for the inaugural game of the season in Jacksonville.

He didn't play a single snap in the 2016 preseason, leaving many to question whether or not he would actually be on track to take the field in the aforementioned season-opening contest.

Five months later, he's crowned as the league's Comeback Player of the Year.

In a scorching EverBank Field, Nelson caught his first of what would go on to be 14 receiving touchdowns. A number that would lead the league by the culmination of the season.

Through the course of the season, Nelson helped open the aerial attack in Green Bay with the intention of realigning the offense with what was seen in 2014 — quarterback Aaron Rodgers' second MVP campaign. After a sub-optimal 2015 season without Nelson at the helm of the receiving corps, the team's offense evidently struggled in what would go on to be one of the worst offensive seasons seen in Green Bay since 2005. 

Nelson not only spread the field for the passing game, but he became the team's leading and most efficient red zone target. 

He saw 28.23 percent of targets in the red zone, including 21 catches for 12 touchdowns, leading the team in both categories. His 14 touchdowns on the season were his most since 2011, but the personal accolades for Nelson don't end there. 

Nelson saw 152 targets, the most of his career a year removed from surgery to repair his ACL. The expectations were looming, but supported on Nelson's shoulders through the duration of the season, including during the team's six-game regular season win streak in which Nelson recorded six receiving touchdowns. To go along with his influx of targets, he had just two registered drops, tying his personal best of fewest in a season. His 1.3 drop percentage — also the lowest of his career —  was tied for the second-lowest amongst receivers with more than 90 catches in 2016.

While the season reached a dismal conclusion in Atlanta just four quarters away from a Super Bowl, Nelson played through two broken ribs sustained in the Wild Card win over the Giants. After recovering for two weeks, Nelson was still the Packers' leading receiver in the losing effort, tallying six receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown.

Nelson is the first Packers player to win the award, although, it's worth noting that former Packers receiver Robert Brooks won the Pro Football Writers of America Comeback Player of the Year Award in 1997 a season following an ACL and patellar tendon tear. The same award that Nelson won in January.

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (8)

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Since'61's picture

February 05, 2017 at 07:54 am

Congratulations Jordy! Well deserved. Thanks for another great season. Since '61

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Bearmeat's picture

February 05, 2017 at 08:32 am

Congrats Jordy!!

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Lphill's picture

February 05, 2017 at 09:14 am

congrats to a great guy well deserved, I also have a feeling he will come out full force next season no slow start like this past season. Jordy is a true Packer!

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NickPerry's picture

February 05, 2017 at 12:24 pm

Congratulations to Nelson for the award and an amazing season. I don't know how close the voting was but it should have been a sweep.

After watching Nelson in the NFCCG in obvious pain giving 110% like always, I can only hope the Packers go out and get a few players for this defense with HALF the heart Nelson plays with.

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dobber's picture

February 05, 2017 at 01:27 pm

...and how. Well said.

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Ibleedgreenmore's picture

February 05, 2017 at 04:16 pm

I got to see him play at Kansas, I knew then he was going to be a great receiver on an NFL team. When the Pack drafted him I just knew he would be great, congrats Jordy you are right up there with some of the great Packers receivers I have watched over the many years you are the man.

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Packer_Pete's picture

February 05, 2017 at 07:50 pm

He played at Kansas State, not Kansas...

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TommyG's picture

February 05, 2017 at 09:41 pm

Don't let facts get in the way of a good memory... real or otherwise. Lol.

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