14 seasons in the green and gold, Packers great Donald Driver has hung up his
cleats for good.
a televised ceremony held in the Lambeau Field Atrium last Wednesday, Driver
officially announced his retirement from the National Football League in front
of friends, members of the Packer organization, and hundreds of fans.
years ago I signed my first big contract for the Green Bay Packers, and I
promised you all that I would never wear another uniform. So today we make that
official,” Driver said to fans during the ceremony.
was drafted by Green Bay in the seventh round of the 1999 draft out of Alcorn
State in Mississippi. In his 14 seasons with the Packers he has amassed 10,137
yards receiving on 743 receptions, both franchise records. Driver is also
third in career touchdown catches with 61, trailing only Hall of Famer Don
Hutson, 99, and Sterling Sharpe, 65.
past season was certainly a change for the veteran. As the senior member of one
of the most dynamic receiving corps in the NFL, Driver played a limited role on
offense, making way for younger players like Randall Cobb.
even had a stint on special teams and was inactive for the Packers final home
game. He ended the season with 77 yards and two touchdowns, off of just eight
his limited role, Driver continued to receive the loudest cheers of any player
during team introductions. During his press conference, Driver said that
that’s what he would miss the most. The fans didn’t care if he caught a single
pass, he was still their guy.
has not changed me,” Driver said at the ceremony. “I’m the same skinny little
kid who walked in 1999. I’ll be the same skinny kid who walked out in 2013.”
success could have just as easily evaded him. In Driver’s humble beginnings in
Texas, he and his brother would steal cars to make money. Stealing cars soon
turned into selling drugs. He and his siblings would sometimes sleep in the
back of a U-Haul truck. Until Driver decided he was going to make the most of
his athletic ability.
came from a rough background and turned his life around to become one of the
best receivers for the Packers,” said junior education major Shea Sumnicht
about Driver, her favorite player.
more than his story and success on the field that have made Driver a hero
among the Green Bay faithful. He has been far and away the most active member
of the team when it comes to volunteering in the community.
Brett Favre left the Packers, Driver took over Favre’s annual charity softball
game. He also hosts an annual golf tournament and makes appearances and
contributions to countless other community events.
The Donald Driver Foundation, scholarships are given each year to students in
his home state of Texas, Mississippi, where Driver played his college ball, and
reached a new audience when he competed on the 14th season of Dancing with the
Stars. Along with his partner, Peta Murgatroyd, Driver took advantage of his
athletic ability, charisma, and bright smile and won first place, adding
another accolade to his name.
think the thing I’ll remember about him is how he always had a smile on his
face,” said junior health promotion and wellness major Ryan Finnel.
the thing you first notice about Driver is his smile. No matter how hard he got
hit after catching a pass over the middle he would always pop up grinning.
Driver said he learned that from his time playing with Favre.
the ceremony, Driver said Favre taught him to never let them see you hurt,
something Favre became known for during his career and something Driver always
carried with him.
this chapter of Driver’s life is through. Much speculation has been made over
his next step. He recently made an appearance on a wedding edition of Katie
Couric’s show, something Driver said during his press conference that he has a
Driver gets into event planning, broadcasting, or someday coaching, one thing
is certain; he’ll do it with every bit of passion and heart that he showed on