80 days until Packers football: James Lofton and Donald Driver

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Driver gets the block from Andrew Quarless to spring him. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Driver gets the block from Andrew Quarless to spring him. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

 

With 80 days left until the start of the NFL season, our countdown to the big day continues. Thursday, Sept. 4, is when the Green Bay Packers will travel to Seattle to take on the Super Bowl Champion Seahawks.  Over the  course of the next 80 days we focus on the the number that represents the number of days remaining … today its 80.

For an in-depth look at every number and the players who wore them, we highly recommend “Packers by the Numbers: Jersey Numbers and the Players Who Wore Them,” by John Maxymuk.

James_Lofton

John Maxymuk’s book was published in 2003, so it’s a bit dated, but still provides a solid background of information about Packers players and their jersey numbers continuing up through 11 years ago. To make up those 11 years, we have utilized Pro Football Reference, which includes players from the 1950s through 2014

Our last focus, which included #81, Desmond Howard.

Think about all of the #80s who have played for the Packers. Most likely you could immediately name at least a couple and maybe three or four.

How about Jackie HarrisBob Long and Clint Didier

How about Derrick MayesFrankie Neal and Charles Jordan?

Well, surely you remember James Lofton and Donald Driver.

Of course you do. Lofton was that Hall of Fame gazelle who terrorized NFL defenders for 17 years and five different teams; Driver is not just that bald guy doing seat belt commercials. Driver is the Packers all-time leading receiver who played for 14 years and retired a Green Bay Packer.

Lofton is an inductee in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Driver will certainly be elected to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, and many argue he should be considered for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

During their careers in Green Bay, both players were highly respected. While Lofton had legal issues at the end of his time with the Packers, as a player, he was still highly respected for what he brought to the field.

Driver was universally loved, both as a player and for his image off the field. He was the only player in franchise history who had a recognition celebration held upon retirement. Driver’s final season in Green Bay in 2012 was his least productive. He started game one, but rarely saw the field after that as the group of Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Randall Cobb made it difficult for the aging Driver to find playing time.

Both of these players, in Packers lore, carry nearly an equal amount of importance.

Lofton, who played from 1978 through the 1986 season, was a star for the Packers, but it wasn’t until he went to Buffalo after two years with the Raiders that he saw team success.

So, let’s take a closer look at these two best Packers #80s …

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