Editor’s update: Wes Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press Gazette posted this tweet that sheds different light on Driver’s comments below about being contacted by other teams … take it for what’s it’s worth.
— Wes Hodkiewicz (@WesHod) June 17, 2013
We all know it’s not going to happen, but when former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver said today that there had been teams calling him to check on his availability, he said there was only one team for which he would play.
Unfortunately for the Double-D lovers out there, he’s not going to get that call – we all know that.
While his playing days are done, Driver has been plenty busy in his retirement and this past weekend spent in Green Bay epitomizes just how busy he is.
In addition to attending the formal dedication of Donald Driver Way and the showing off of the transformation of “The Receiver” into a giant-sized likeness of him, Driver also hosted his annual charity softball game, which drew about 9,000 fans.
In an article by Bill Huber of The Packer Report, Driver talked about his appreciation and gratitude.
“Twelve years ago, I sat down at that podium and signed my first big contract, and I told millions of fans that I’d never wear another color but the green and gold. Teams have called and asked would I want to come out (of retirement). Nope, I love the green and gold. If the Packers called and asked, ‘Drive, come back to training camp,’ I’ll be back in training camp. Until then, I’ll be sitting at home and just watching football.”
“I would have never imagined. In 14 years, if someone had told me that throughout my career I would win a Super Bowl, that’d I’d be Green Bay Packers all-time leading receiver, that I’d get a statue named after me, that’d I’d win ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and get a street, I would have never imagined it. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster for us – for me and my family.”
What a ride it’s been for him – nearly as exciting as the drive he took yesterday … he describes what happened:
Here, it’s just the love. They’re always chasing you. It’s a proven fact yesterday. Stopped at a light after the statue ceremony and they just mobbed the truck. I opened up the truck and just hugged and took pictures. That shows you that when you give to them, they give it back to you. Today, it’s a special moment for them because maybe they think this is my last softball game and they may never see me again. But I’m in Green Bay and here in Wisconsin. I’m not going anywhere. This is my home and it will always be.”
What’s great for Packers fans is that Driver has always been a man of his word. He never let money interfere with keeping that word. The Packers were fair with him on the business side of the game and he produced on the field. If there’s ever been a symbiosis between player and team in the NFL, I’m not sure where you might find it.
He’s quickly become the face of the Packers franchise – even in retirement. Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre, LeRoy Butler and even Reggie White have all vied for the claim, but it just seems Driver’s a natural fit.
Like he said, “This is my home and it will always be.”
And he will always be welcome.