This story appears in ESPN The Magazine's August 18 College Football Preview Issue. Subscribe today!
FOR MANY NFL PROS, the offseason means private islands and poolside cabanas. Not for Jordy Nelson. The 30-year-old, who set the Packers' single-season receiving record last year with 1,519 yards, swaps his cleats for work boots on his family's 4,000-acre Kansas farm. For five or six weeks each year, he drives a combine and cuts wheat, sometimes for 12 hours a day, or rounds up some of the 1,000-cow herd. "Working cattle is my favorite farm duty," he says. "It's interactive, and you're on your feet all day." As early as age 12, Nelson was driving tractor loads of wheat into town, hitting the road before he had a driver's license. "I probably identify more as a farmer [than a football player]," he says. "Around here, I'm just the farm kid that they have always known." Now that summer is winding down, though, it's back to that other place that knows him well (and to his paying job): Lambeau Field.