Packer great Donald Driver to retire

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by Andrew Coughlin

There's a reason that Donald Driver is so beloved amongst Packer fans.  Not only did he give his team and his fans everything he had on the field, every Sunday he played, for 14 years, but he gave and continues to give through the "Donald Driver Foundation" and other charities within the community he calls a second home to him and his family.

That love is mutual for an organization and city that took a chance on him.  Do you think the Packers really knew what they were getting when they drafted the undersized WR out of Alcorn St with the 213th pick in the 1999 NFL draft?  I don't think they did.

Driver thinks he can still play in the NFL, but right now, he doesn't think he can do it for another team.

"I feel I can still play", he says.  "And I know I can still play, but you know, if I can't play for my organization, then I can't play for anyone else.  So, I'm happy with the decision I made."

14 seasons with the Packers organization and Driver holds the team record in: receptions (743), receiving yards (10,137) and games played for a WR (205).  Double D will be known for his accomplishments on the field as much as his kindness off the field. 

It's an understatement to say Green Bay fans absolutely love him.  Everyone loves an underdog story and roots for them to succeed, but Driver's ascension truly transcends any kind of fairytale in a book.  And not only is his story great, but Driver's character is just as. Locally, most of us knew his rags-to-riches story and because of his appearance on Dancing with the Stars the nation fell in love with Driver as well.

He has overcome the odds in multiple aspects of his life.  From being homeless with his family at a very young age, to selling drugs in college and being a seventh round draft pick out of a small school in Mississippi; life has certainly been a series of difficult obstacles for him.

The obstacles didn't end there.  Even though the Packers drafted him, the odds of him making the team, let alone becoming one of the greatest WRs in franchise history, were astronomical.

Let's not forget that Driver was a first class track star at Alcorn St as well as a football player.  He had a shot at competing in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. (Driver could high jump 7' 6".  The world record is 8' 1/2". The Olympic record is 7' 10".)  And it wasn't as if the Packers were desperate for WRs.  They had Antonio Freeman, Bill Schroeder and Corey Bradford as incumbents and were coming off a playoff year.  Yet, Driver passed up the Olympics, stuck it out and competed for a spot on the roster.  The rest is history.  

The guy will be a legend in Green Bay forever.  He made the Pro Bowl four times and will go into the Packer Hall of Fame in the near future.

Driver has mentioned many times over that he wants to be known as a great person first and a great football player second.  I think Packer fans can all agree that Donald Driver will forever be known as both, at least in the state of Wisconsin he will be, without a doubt.

 

Note: Donald Driver was passed up by every single NFL franchise, multiple times over.  Being a 7th round draft choice will do that to you.  Here's a list of WRs drafted ahead of him in the 1999 NFL draft:

RD Pick Player Team College/Univ
1 6 Torry Holt St. Louis North Carolina St.
1 8 David Boston Arizona Ohio St.
2 53 Peerless Price Buffalo Tennessee
3 78 Marty Booker Chicago La-Monroe
4 98 Craig Yeast Cincinnati Kentucky
4 105 Brandon Stokley Baltimore La-Lafayette
6 171 Tai Streets San Francisco

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