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Driver overcome by support at retirement press conference

Donald Driver AP

There’s a reason Donald Driver was willing to retire as a member of the Packers, when he probably could have found work somewhere else.

And that reason was evident Wednesday, during a massive celebration of his career during a ceremony at Lambeau Field.

Estimates had the crowd at 1,500 (in the middle of the week, in the middle of a work day, in a small town) to come say goodbye to the veteran wide receiver, who made  the team as a seventh-round pick in 1999.

I told myself I wasn’t going to cry today so I’m going to hold the emotion back as much as possible. I love you all so much,” Driver said, via Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin.com. “It was a tough decision, but my family and I felt it was time for the next chapter in our life.”

Driver joked that his immediate concern was getting the squirrels out of the attic in his Dallas home, but he should have plenty of opportunities.

While his 743 receptions for 10,137 yards made him a football star, his Dancing with the Stars title gives him options beyond the field, including several television opportunities.

State and local politicians declared it “Donald Driver Day” in his honor, and named a street for him.

But for Driver, it was a chance to thank the people who supported him for so long, and look back on a career he turned into something special.

“When I walked in here in 1999. I knew I could do anything if I believed anything was possible,” Driver said. “Look at me now, I’m the all-time leading receiver in Packers’ history.”

He’s also one of the most popular players in franchise history, and well-deserving of a chance to be celebrated.

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25 Responses to “Driver overcome by support at retirement press conference”
  1. crs334 says: Feb 6, 2013 3:07 PM

    Nothing but a class act throughout his career. I wish him the best in his further endeavors.

  2. packinnm says: Feb 6, 2013 3:07 PM

    I was watching on the Packers website. More than 11,000 people were also watching according to their counter

  3. kja22 says: Feb 6, 2013 3:08 PM

    Gonna miss DD. He was underrated throughout his entire career. He was also a fantastic person off of the field. One of his quotes from his retirement press conference is especially great. He said, “Someone is always going to be able to tell my kids that their dad was a great football player, but no one will be able to tell my kids that their dad was a great dad and a great husband, so I have to be able to show them that.”

    Thanks for everything Donald!

  4. bleedburgandyandgold says: Feb 6, 2013 3:10 PM

    Been watching him since day one good luck in your retirement Driver!! Was fun watching you!

  5. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Feb 6, 2013 3:14 PM

    One of the classiest to ever play the game.

  6. themagicfanguy says: Feb 6, 2013 3:16 PM

    Love you DD! Have fun in your next career!

  7. jwcarlson says: Feb 6, 2013 3:16 PM

    :)

  8. brokentreehousemusic says: Feb 6, 2013 3:17 PM

    He’s always a class act. Great player, great person. The league should acknowledge the example he sets for young players. We need more Donald Drivers in the spotlight.

    I’m a Patriots fan, by the way.

  9. packerpride03 says: Feb 6, 2013 3:22 PM

    We will miss you DD

  10. shlort says: Feb 6, 2013 3:32 PM

    Donald will still be around GB. He does a ton of charity work in the area, and I am sure he will still be involved with some of that.

    Great dude and a guy that other pros should look to to see how to do things right in your adopted community and for your team.

    Careers don’t last forever, but Donald’s will be a name always associated with the Green Bay Packers.

  11. jhtobias says: Feb 6, 2013 3:44 PM

    One of the Classiest men to play the game .. Awesome player and an even better human being …

    On a side note wish they would hold an aj hawk retirement party.

  12. goinalldeway says: Feb 6, 2013 3:53 PM

    One of the classiest guys in the league. Period. Never had any sort of negative support. Played through thick and thin. When u talk receivers in GB, first name in my generation is Donald Driver. I have even more respect for him as in this day and age of free agency and parity, he played for the same organization for his whole career . Class act from a class organization with a class fan base.

    Sincerely
    GT
    Raider Fan

  13. deltaoracle says: Feb 6, 2013 3:54 PM

    I was hoping that when this day came we’d still have Jennings to show rookies how to carry themselves and play the game. Tough that he’s probably leaving as well. Guys of the quality of Driver and Jennings don’t come around every day. It was an honor to have them both on the Packers for years.

  14. gbpbacker84 says: Feb 6, 2013 3:56 PM

    I can’t think of any athlete in any sport that has a bigger, more genuine heart than Donald Driver. Even though he was demoted this year, he didn’t make it a distraction and took it like a man. Much love and respect Donald. You may not be the greatest player in Packers history, but as an ambassador for the team and doing what is right, you are the most beloved.

  15. bordner says: Feb 6, 2013 4:06 PM

    The epitome of class on and off the field. DD’s career should be required study for all current and future NFL players. From the time he first signed with the team to the time he left the Atrium after his retirement ceremony, he’s done nothing but show everyone exactly how a professional should behave.

  16. Deb says: Feb 6, 2013 4:11 PM

    Just wanted to pay respect to Driver. Great player, great attitude. And it’s wonderful to see a player retire with his original team, leaving on excellent terms with the city and the fans. That’s worth so much more than another year as a journeyman receiver. Learned more of his backstory when he was on Dancing With the Stars, and he’s a terrific ambassador for the league and the Packers. All the best from Steeler Nation.

  17. tommyribs says: Feb 6, 2013 4:32 PM

    This fan from GIANTS nation wants to wish Driver well.

    He represents everything that is RIGHT with modern athletes.

    A friend of mine met him years ago in Houston, and said he was just a great, great guy.

    He was also a phenomenal talent, and a great team mate!

  18. operwapitsai says: Feb 6, 2013 4:53 PM

    as a big vikes fan I have nothing but respect for the man… too bad he couldnt come to minny!

  19. contraisloosebuthole says: Feb 6, 2013 5:47 PM

    Vikings players do not even want to be in “minny.”

  20. wyrdawg says: Feb 6, 2013 5:57 PM

    From a Bears fan: DD will always be a class act. Consummate professional. Top WR in Packers’ history. That says something.

    Hope to see you in the funny papers somewhere on Sundays, sir. Godspeed.

  21. stellarperformance says: Feb 6, 2013 6:31 PM

    Guys like Driver are so few and far between we may never see another like him, at least in a Packer uniform. Completely selfless. A rare breed. I’m certain the world has not seen the last of him. He is such a focused person, his greatest infamy may still lie ahead.

  22. fdugrad says: Feb 6, 2013 8:31 PM

    He truly overcame some serious obstacles from his formative years. Talk about taking straw and spinning it into gold! Everyone wishes him well in his new life, one of them, being me.

  23. salutethis says: Feb 6, 2013 11:50 PM

    Now that is doing it the right way! A real class act.much better than some guy making a announcement right before the playoffs to motivate his team…

  24. axespray says: Feb 7, 2013 4:57 PM

    An awesome dude.
    Tough Player – Never complained about money or catches – class act. Guy is my favorite Packer.

  25. bobnelsonjr says: Feb 8, 2013 4:14 AM

    In a news era that is dominated by bad behavior by NFL players, especially wide receivers, Donald Driver stands out with class even above the high standards of the Green Bay Packers.

    If good news sold media space, Donald Driver would be a regular on page 1.

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