The sun has set on the career of a Packers legend.
Donald Driver, the Packers all time leading receiver, is “putting the cleats on the shelf” after a 14 year career, all spent in Green Bay, during which time he rewrote the Packers record book.
Driver walks away from the game as the Packers all time leader in receiving yards (10,137) and receptions (743). He also holds the record for most consecutive 1,000 yard seasons with seven. He ranks second all time in yards from scrimmage (10,354) and games played in a Packer uniform (205), and third all time in touchdowns with 61.
The path Driver took to achieve this level of success is nothing short of a miracle. Overcoming incredible odds as a child, spending part of it living in a U Haul with his family and going so far to sell drugs to help support them, Quickie was able to harness ability on the football field. Success at little known Alcorn State resulted in the Packers taking a chance on Driver in the 7th round of the 1999 draft.
Taking that chance would pay off in the form of success. Individual success in the record books. Team success, culminating with winning Super Bowl XLV. And success with the fans, to whom Driver is a beloved figure.
When talking about what he will miss about the game, he made it clear where his home, and his heart, are:
“The biggest thing is walking out of that tunnel at Lambeau. It’s a special place to walk out of and that’s something I’ll never forget.”
His announcement today was humble, as we have all grown accustomed to hearing from Driver, and heartfelt, feeling the need to give back to the fans after all the support they have given him over the years:
“I want to do something special, I want to do it in front of the fans, something that no other player has done. I’m going to open my retirement up to the fans and give them everything they deserve.”
No Donald, you deserve it. For all the joy you have given the fans, you deserve every cheer you are going to get during your retirement ceremony.
Donald Driver’s career is full of great moments. His unflinching desire to be the very best. His team first attitude, best displayed this past season as he volunteered for special teams duty just to help contribute. His presence in the community, always giving back to those in need. These are a few of the reasons I will truly miss seeing Number 80 on the sidelines.
There are limitless numbers of great plays in such a storied career. Yet there is one play which stands out as the play which defined not only Driver’s career, but also his life:
Breaking four tackles on his way to the end zone, this play shows the never quit attitude, keeping his eye on the prize, until success was his. That defines his life more than his career, and is something we can all learn from.
Thank you Donald Driver. Thank you. For all the joy you brought us over the years-thank you.
Enjoy your retirement. You have most definitely earned it.
Details on how to acquire tickets for Donald Driver’s retirement ceremony on 2/6/13 can be found here.
John Rehor is a staff writer at PackersTalk.com and co-host of Cheesehead Radio. To contact John follow him on Twitter @jrehor or email john firstname.lastname@example.org