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Nelson joins Packers practice with $39 million extension

The Sports Xchange

Training camp for the Green Bay Packers kicked off Saturday morning with more than the usual chatter and occasional chirping among players on the field.

Word spread fast of the big contract extension accorded to Jordy Nelson. The star receiver broke the news himself as drills were being run at Green Bay’s Nitschke Field.

Nelson told his fellow wideouts and the quarterbacks that he took care of the particulars of the four-year, $39 million deal across the street at Lambeau Field shortly before the first practice started.

“I just wanted them to be the first one to know so they didn’t have to find out when they came back in here (the Lambeau locker room),” Nelson said after practice.

By the middle of practice, nearly everyone on the team received the news, including head coach Mike McCarthy, who was apprised by general manager Ted Thompson out on the field. Several teammates were quick to congratulate Nelson before practice finished.

“Jordy Nelson is an outstanding football player and a great ambassador for the Green Bay Packers (and) obviously an excellent family man,” McCarthy said. “It’s something that everybody’s excited about and glad to see Jordy will be here for some time.”

With Nelson going into the final year of his contract, the new pact has the 29-year-old with the Packers through conditionally the 2018 season. The extension reportedly includes more than $14 million in guaranteed money with a signing bonus of $11.5 million.

“Now, he can buy all the land in Kansas,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers quipped about Nelson, a Kansas native. “I’m very happy (for him). It’s fun to see guys like that who are incredible teammates, phenomenal players and good guys get rewarded. That’s what we’ve done around here. Guys who have gotten second and third contracts are the guys who, for the most part, have been raised up in the system, done things the right way, the Packer way, and gotten rewarded for it.

“It’s fun to see Jordy re-sign for four more (years). I told him that’s five (seasons left under contract) for him, and I’ve got six (years) left. So, we’re going to have to do one more (contract extension) after that and stick around a little bit longer.”

Locking up Nelson before the start of the season had been expected. Packers management wasn’t interested in dragging things out once the games begin and run the risk of Nelson becoming a free agent after the season.

Nelson, the team’s second-round draft pick in 2008, had career highs of 85 catches and 1,314 receiving yards with eight touchdowns last season.

“Jordy’s hard work and dedication has made him a good player, teammate and a core member of this team,” Thompson said.

With Nelson’s contract out of the way, the next order of business for Thompson and negotiator Russ Ball figures to be working out an extension in short order for Randall Cobb. The rising receiver is going into the final year of his first pro contract.

“Every coach wants his core guys, no doubt about it,” McCarthy said. “You want to sign them all. If I was in charge of the player checkbook, we would have been way over the (salary) budget a long time ago. Randall’s an excellent football player, and you always want to see your guys get paid and you continue to grow with them.”