Years Played


Year Inducted


Two-time second-team All-American for North Dakota State in 1972 and 1973. Also a two-time All-North Central Conference selection. Played defensive end in 1972 and was named the NCC's most valuable defensive lineman. Moved to linebacker in 1973 and earned the NCC's most valuable defensive back award. A second-round draft choice of the New England Patriots of the NFL, he played 14 seasons before retiring in 1987. He was a three-time All-Pro selection at linebacker (1980, 1984 and 1985) and appeared in the Pro Bowl each of those seasons. His number, 57, was retired by the Patriots. Nelson helped the Patriots to five playoff appearances, one AFC Championship, and a berth in the 1986 Super Bowl. He was named the Patriots' NFL Man of the Year three times.