Karl Nelson
No. 63
Position:Offensive tackle
Personal information
Born: (1960-06-14) June 14, 1960 (age 63)
DeKalb, Illinois, U.S.
Height:6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Weight:285 lb (129 kg)
Career information
High school:DeKalb
College:Iowa State
NFL draft:1983 / Round: 3 / Pick: 70
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games started:51
Player stats at PFR

Karl Stuart Nelson (born June 14, 1960) is an American former professional football player who was an offensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL).

Born and raised in DeKalb, Illinois, Nelson played scholastically at DeKalb High School, where he earned all-state honors in football, was a star pitcher for the baseball team, and lettered in basketball.[1][2]

He played collegiately for the Iowa State Cyclones.[3] As a junior, Nelson was named second-team All-Big Eight by the Associated Press (AP) and as a senior was tabbed first-team.[4][5] Also as a senior, he was honored by the Newspaper Enterprise Association as a first-team All-American.[6]

Nelson was selected by the New York Giants in the third-round of the 1983 NFL Draft.[7] He spent his rookie season on the injured reserve list, but started all 55 games at right tackle over the next three seasons, culminating with the Giants victory in Super Bowl XXI.[8]

Shortly after the Super Bowl, Nelson was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease, and sat out the 1987 season. He made an amazing comeback in 1988, regaining his starting job, but injured his ankle in week 2. He returned from the injury in week 9, appearing in 7 more games that season. His Hodgkin's disease returned in 1989, forcing him to sit out yet another season, although he did help to coach the team's offensive line. He announced his retirement on December 13, 1989, saying, "I don't have the push for those five-hour workout days anymore."[1][2]

In 1989, Nelson was the recipient of the George Halas Award, given by the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) to an NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes the most adversity to succeed.[9]

He also served as a commentator on Giants radio broadcasts.[2]

Nelson went on to work in the financial services industry, and in 1993 published an autobiography, "Life on the Line".[10]

Nelson currently[when?] resides with his wife, Inga, in Northern New Jersey and is an active advocate for various charities. His primary charity is Adopt-a-Soldier Platoon.

See also



  1. ^ a b "Karl Nelson Stats". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved June 3, 2024.
  2. ^ a b c "Karl Nelson announces retirement from pro football". DeKalb (IL) Daily Chronicle. December 14, 1989. p. 13. Retrieved June 3, 2024 – via Newspapers.com.Open access icon
  3. ^ "Karl Nelson Stats". NFL.com. Retrieved June 3, 2024.
  4. ^ "Associated Press All-Big Eight". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. November 25, 1981. p. 68. Retrieved June 3, 2024 – via Newspapers.com.Open access icon
  5. ^ "1982 AP All-Big Eight team". The Des Moines Register. November 24, 1982. p. 2S. Retrieved June 3, 2024 – via Newspapers.com.Open access icon
  6. ^ Murray Olderman (December 26, 1982). "Hershel (sic) Walker and John Elway Head '82 NEA All America team". The Albert Lea Tribune (MN). p. 12 – via Newspapers.com.Open access icon
  7. ^ "1983 NFL Draft Listing". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved June 3, 2024.
  8. ^ "Karl Nelson Stats". Pro Football Archives. Archived from the original on June 1, 2023. Retrieved June 3, 2024.
  9. ^ "George Halas Award". Pro Football Writers of America. Retrieved June 3, 2024.
  10. ^ "Mark Vancil's Rare Air, Karl Nelson's story hit bookshelves". DeKalb (IL) Daily Chronicle. August 29, 1993. p. 11. Retrieved June 3, 2024 – via Newspapers.com.Open access icon