Former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver is beloved by all Packers fans. Driver was a true professional who was full of determination and always put his teammates first. He consistently put up numbers and was a fan favorite for the 14 years he wore green and gold.
Statistically, Driver is one of the best receivers in Packers history. He finished with 743 receptions, the most by any Packer, and had over 10,00 yards receiving along with 61 career touchdowns. However, his stats weren’t what made Driver’s career so great. It was the road he took to become the player he was that made him truly remarkable and inspirational.
Driver, the middle of five children, grew up in a U-Haul truck throughout the early years of his life. He had to become a father figure to his siblings after his parents were divorced, and it was clear early on that there was no way Driver would be able to make much of his life.
Driver was in trouble as a teenager and tried to do as much as he could to support his mom and siblings. This was when his life changed.
After dealing with an issue with the law, Driver decided to turn his life around. He started to play football in high school and was a standout at Milby High in Houston, Texas. After a great four years, he had a dream come true and went to college at Alcorn State. Driver was “Athlete of the Year” in his conference for both football and track and proved to everyone that you can overcome anything if you put your mind to it and have an extreme work ethic.
After playing at Alcorn State, Driver was drafted by the Packers in 1999 in the 7th round. From there, he never looked back.
It was something that Driver never expected in his life. A young man going from a U-Haul truck to the NFL. Finally, he was able to support his family the way he wanted.
I had the privilege of watching Driver live five times in his career. I can honestly say in all of the games I saw, never once was Driver not smiling. You could tell where he was both on and off the field. A smile that went from ear to ear. A smile from a guy who was thankful to be given an opportunity. A smile from a guy who now is known as one of the greatest Packers of all-time.
Donald Driver was and will forever be one of my favorite Packers. He is a true inspiration to anyone and absolutely proves that if you put your mind to something and never give up, anything is possible.
Driver has a book coming out in November called Driven. It is a memoir that I recommend everyone orders. It is not only about a football player, it is about a man who put his family before anything and overcame all odds to become one of the most respected men in football.
Driver was quoted at his retirement announcement this past February saying, “It’s truly a blessing for me. God has blessed me to be where I’m at today. All the trials and tribulations I faced throughout my career and life. Look at where I’m at now, I’m the all-time Packers leading receiver of that franchise. That tells you a lot.”
That quote does tell me a lot; it tells me that Driver is not only one of the best receivers, but one of the best people the league has ever seen. I commend him on a great career, and I am proud to say he was a receiver on the team I have called my favorite for 21 years.