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.