The Green Bay Packers are a deep and talented team and nobody knows that better than Donald Driver. The Packers’ all-time leading receiver has been inactive for much of the past month and is looking for anyway to get back onto the field before his playing days are over.
Tens of the thousands among the Packers fan base feel the same way – a fact bolstered by the more than 44,000 who have liked the “Activate Donald Driver” Facebook page this past week. Even on our own Facebook page, when asked about how Packers fans felt, they responded in droves (see comments below).
Driver, who has been seen only in street clothes on the sidelines the past few weeks, went to his coaches this week and asked if he could play special teams – an act of desperation, many think. As of Thursday, Driver told the press that he felt confident about his chances of being activated for Saturday night’s NFC Divisional Playoff game in San Francisco.
“I think I will be activated,” he said. “We’ll see.”
Driver has endeared himself to the fan base through the years, not only because of his flashing smile, but because of his hard-nosed, sometimes incredible catches. He took a significant pay cut to join the team again this year and made the final cut after training camp. He is a member of a truly talented group of wide receivers, but has found it very difficult to make it on the field this season. Though he has just eight catches for 77 yards this season, Driver has two touchdowns.
Nothing would please him more – and the fans – if he had the opportunity to play one more playoff game as a Packer. In his career, he has 49 catches, 675 yards and three touchdowns in 14 career playoff games.
If the fan base had its way, Driver would be starting. However, it’s Head Coach Mike McCarthy who makes the final decision and so far he hasn’t tipped his hand on how he will approach the subject for Saturday. Receiver Jarrett Boykin has been ruled out for Saturday’s game, which appears to open the door a crack for Driver. However, it will probably come down to the choice of activating Driver over Jeremy Ross, a young player who has already shown a lot of promise on special teams.
In my mind, the choice for McCarthy is to go with the young guy even though I feel emotionally like the rest of Packers Nation.
Let’s just say this: I won’t be surprised if Driver is once again roaming the sideline as the player without a team.
Great player; great man; classy individual he is. You haven’t heard him complain one iota about his role with the team this season. It’s sad, but it’s the National Football League where young players get the chance and the older players ride off into the sunset.
When Donald Driver’s final game arrives, we will all probably cry – not because he was treated badly, but because we will miss him flashing his smile and making incredible catches for the franchise.
We love you, Donald.
And if you want to feel the real love, check out some of the responses to our Facebook posting. You, too, will feel the sadness, the gratitude and in some cases, the anger because their hero is being denied one last opportunity.