Donald Driver left more than a lasting impression on the football field. For all his on-the-field success, his class and demeanor off the field is what Packers fans will likely remember most.
Over the years, star wide receivers in the NFL have built a reputation of being or eventually becoming "divas" over time. For most, it seems as if a certain level of success or trust within the organization will increase the chances that they "aren't getting enough looks" or something like that. It seems that every year we experience a disgruntled Terrell Owens here or a Michael Crabtree holdout there. Then there are all of the shenanigans that come in between, whatever they may be.
Now I'm not trying to bash star NFL wide receivers because they put up numbers, they move the chains, and they put on a great show. Most of the time, they are definitely deserving of the money, contract extension, or anything else that they are trying to receive from their team. Take Greg Jennings for instance. He recently put his De Pere home up for sale, perhaps being the biggest sign that he may be done in Green Bay. While many Packer fans may feel slighted if he leaves, he totally earned the right. Unlike a LOT of his colleagues, he kept his head down, remained productive and even helped win a Super Bowl title. He is definitely a rare breed of wide receiver.
Then you have that extremely rare breed of player at the position. Fortunately for the Packers, they have had that guy in their locker room for the past 14 years. Donald Driver was definitely the ultimate class act at the receiving position. Jennings, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, and Randall Cobb all have shown star potential but haven't really shown signs of being a "diva" up to this point in their careers. It is probably safe to credit the veteran Driver for showing these young guys an example of the skills of a great wide receiver but more importantly, the skills of a great teammate.
For the last 14 seasons, Driver has set the precedent on what a star WR should be. That is only my opinion but I'm sure many teams would love to have a guy like Driver catching balls for their team. Imagine Randy Moss or Terrell Owens with a Donald Driver demeanor, the sun would probably shine a little brighter on Sundays.
After 743 receptions and 10,137 receiving yards, 61 touchdowns, three pro bowls, and one Super Bowl title, Driver has decided to call it quits. He leaves the Packers as the all-time record holder in receptions and receiving yards. Oh, and who can forget his 475 first downs? The "First Down Shimmy" will definitely be missed.
Sure, at times there were receivers arguably more talented than Driver over the last 14 seasons, but none more important. Remember
the great Javon Walker? He was on the verge of becoming a big star but eventually grew outside of the "team" concept. He is probably the last known trace of "diva" in the Packers' receiving group. After he made way out of Green Bay, Driver had to take the reigns as the team's number one receiver, resulting in a franchise-best seven one-thousand yard seasons. Meanwhile, Walker faded into the abyss.
Driver made splashes off of the field as well. He has written a number of children's books, held his own Donald Driver Charity Softball Game, and even won Dancing with the Stars last spring. It truly has been a spectacular ride for old man Driver; a former seventh-round pick out of Alcorn State back in 1999. He kept his head down, went to work and got the job done, all in a Green Bay Packers uniform. Driver was truly one of a rare breed of men to ever play his position.
A true fan-favorite in Green Bay, Driver has decided to celebrate his career with the Packer faithful. A ceremony will be held in the Lambeau Field Atrium on Wednesday.
What are some of your favorite Donald Driver memories?