GREEN BAY – They came into the NFL together and next year they'll fittingly be honored side-by-side.
On Tuesday, former Pro Bowl receiver Jordy Nelson and three-time All-Pro guard Josh Sitton were announced as the newest inductees into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.
The 52nd Hall of Fame Induction Banquet is scheduled to be held Thursday, Aug. 31, 2023, in the Lambeau Field Atrium.
Nelson and Sitton will be the 167th and 168th inductees into the Packers Hall of Fame, joining the general manager who drafted them, Ted Thompson, and six former teammates who played on the Super Bowl XLV team: cornerback/safety Charles Woodson (2020), tackles Mark Tauscher (2018) and Chad Clifton (2016), safety Nick Collins (2016), and receivers Donald Driver (2017) and Greg Jennings (2022).
Nelson and Sitton were members of the same 2008 Packers draft class. The two played together for eight seasons and were catalysts on Packers teams that won Super Bowl XLV, captured four NFC North division titles and made seven playoff appearances from 2008-15.
"Some of the greatest times of my life were on the field, with that guy right there," said Sitton of Nelson on Tuesday. "It's such an honor to go in with him – the 2008 draft class, we retired the same year and it's an honor to be standing up there next to him. Not because of how good of a football player he is but how good of a guy he is."
A second-round pick out of Kansas State, Nelson started 88 of his 136 regular-season appearances for the Packers, ranking fourth in team history in receptions (550), sixth in receiving yards (7,848), and third in touchdown receptions (69).
Known for his breakout performance in Super Bowl XLV and clairvoyant synergy with MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Nelson was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2014 after catching 98 passes for a then-franchise record 1,519 yards and 13 TDs.
There would be no encore, however, after Nelson was sidelined for the entire 2015 season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
In 2016, the former team captain bounced back to catch 97 passes for 1,257 yards and a career-high 14 TDs en route to NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors.
Nelson credits team athletic trainers Brian "Flea" Engel and Nate Weir for aiding him in that recovery process. The 6-foot-3 receiver didn't miss a game, let alone a practice that year, and is still the only player in team history to ever capture the award.
"I personally take a lot of pride in the comeback player of the year season," Nelson said. "Not only for myself and what I went through at that time in my career – coming off the year I did and then having to miss a season, spend 12 months in a training room and having that reward at the end of it was very fulfilling."
A fourth-round pick out of UCF, Sitton started 112 of 121 regular-season games over his eight seasons in Green Bay. After making his first Pro Bowl at right guard in 2012, Sitton flipped to the left side and was voted second-team All-Pro three consecutive years.
Sitton said the first call he made after being informed of his Packers Hall of Fame enshrinement was to former Green Bay offensive line coach James Campen, whom Sitton credits for his development.
He also tips his cap to many of his former Packers teammates on the offensive line, including protégé David Bakhtiari, T.J. Lang, Bryan Bulaga, Corey Linsley and JC Tretter.
Sitton looks back fondly on that 2014 offensive line, in particular, a starting five that played together in 17 of a possible 18 games (including playoffs). They still have a text chain called, "The best Green Bay Packers O-line in history."
"I wouldn't be sitting here without those guys. Those guys made it easy for me to play next to them," Sitton said. "I'm really, really proud of that group. I really would argue we were the best Packers O-line. I know Tausch and those guys would argue the early 2000s and you could argue the '60s guys, but I'd put that group up against anybody."
Today, Nelson lives out of Manhattan, Kan. He works on his family farm, while also coaching his children and serving as an assistant coach for his sister's high-school basketball team.
Like Nelson, Sitton moved back home to Pensacola, Fla., after spending two NFL seasons in Chicago and one in Miami. He owns a construction and development company.
Next August, they're both excited to come back and celebrate their distinguished careers with the coaches, teammates and friends with whom they shared much of their success.
"We understand the honor and privilege it is to wear the "G" to go out on Lambeau Field and play, but never have in your mind to be in the Hall of Fame," Nelson said.
"We get so locked into what we're trying to do that it's not until after you're done playing or you receive a phone call that it truly sinks in that it's gonna happen. It's a great honor. I look forward. It's an even better honor now that Josh and I get to go in together as draft classmates."