In case you haven’t noticed, the Green Bay Packers haven’t been using their all-time receiving leader very much lately. Or at all for that matter. Donald Driver has been inactive in four of the Packers last six games, including their playoff opener.
Probably not exactly what Driver envisioned when he came back for his 14th NFL season.
Once the Packers No. 1 receiver, Driver was clearly behind Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Randall Cobb on the depth chart this season. You could argue he was also behind undrafted rookie Jarrett Boykin late in the year.
Boykin had all five of his catches this season in week 8 or later. Driver only had four catches after week 7.
On the season, Driver had just eight catches for 77 yards.
So what happened here?
Well, we’re guessing Driver overestimated his value to the Packers. The evidence says the team wanted to move in a different direction, but Driver was coming off his Dancing With the Stars win and insisted (then) he wanted to play two more seasons. His popularity with fans had never been greater coming into the season and Driver has always had an “I’ll prove everyone wrong” attitude.
That served him well when he was young and fighting to make the team. It didn’t serve him as well now that he’s 37 — at least on a team as loaded at receiver as the Packers are.
Meanwhile, it would have been hard for the Packers to release a player as popular as Driver. That situation could have been Brett Favre all over again and we know the organization doesn’t want to go through that again. It’s a PR nightmare waiting to happen.
So the Packers probably kept a player they didn’t really want this season. A reward for years of exceptional service, you might call it.
But the writing is on the wall. Driver clearly isn’t in the Packers plans right now and he almost certainly isn’t in them next season.
Retirement after the season and a gracious exit seems to be the obvious route for Driver. Hopefully the Packers can give him another ring as a parting gift.
There is now a Facebook page called Activate Donald Driver. I think it already has over 23,000 likes. I am as a big a a Driver fan as the next person, but he was just brought this season to avoid the backlash from fans. He should have known that he probably wouldn’t be used a whole lot this season. The camera caught him on the sidelines this past Saturday towards the end of the game and you could tell on his face that he was probably standing on the Packers sidelines for the last time as a player. I am really hoping for a Packers victory coupled with Seahawks win to bring the NFC championship to Lambeau and let Donald play on one last game at home and beat the Seahawks as well on the way to the Super Bowl. Packers at Falcons wouldn’t be a bad thing either!!
DD would be best served by retiring with dignity. He gave us many amazing years and should be revered by Packer fans everywhere. It’s in his court, play another year for what? with who? or go down as one of the most beloved Packers in history, leaving his reputation and legend intact. I see him at a future alumni day challenging Bart Starr for loudest ovation by an adoring Lambeau crowd, something I’m still having a hard time picturing with old #4.
The ‘activate’ page is just doing DD and the Packers a disservice. They should put him in for a Rudy moment if they can. What’s strange is that he is not even active for the hands team or when Jordy was hurt. Not much faith in him.
After all the falderall that was made over the weekend for Ray Lewis, who while an admittedly dynamic player, was at one time an accused murderer, why is it that DD didn’t get a lick of love from the Packer organization.
If, and it’s a big if, the Packers get another game in Lambeau against the SeaChickens, DD should be active and have his final moment in the Lambeau sun.
Packers don’t create distractions, trust me, DD will get his due.
Ray Lewis can still play.
I love DD. And I wish him well. With the Packers next year or another team.
I’m not going to say what Driver should do (like retire a Packer after this year) because that’s what will make US AS FANS feel better. That’s selfish. Football is this guys’ life and his livelihood…if he wants to give it a go for another year or two with a team who will benefit from his services I support that 100%. And nothing will affect his position as the all time greatest receiver in Packers history and one of the greatest Packers ever.
DD is still and always will be the man. I foresee him signing with another squad in the offseason (like Derrick Mason, Keenan McCardell and others) who played beyond typical years. Maybe join Jennings down in Miami?
I love DD as much as the next man, but let’s all face some reality here.
The Packers owe DD one thing- the $2 million he’s making for standing the sideline. That’s it.
The perhaps sad fact is that DD is not a better option than Jarrett Boykin or Jeremy Ross, and therefore, shouldn’t be on the field before them. MM needs to let the best guys fricking play. Period.
The day Steve Young was a better option than Joe Montana was the day he deserved to be on the field. The day Aaron Rodgers was a better option than Brett Favre was the day he deserved to be on the field.
Any team looking to pick up DD would have to pay him the veteran’s minimum. So, let’s see- a veteran with little left in the tank for $1 mil or a rookie that can play special teams and grow for $400,000? Tough choice.
The chances of DD playing anywhere else are slim to none. He isn’t good enough anymore to crack a team’s top 4 WRs, and you’re not going to pay a vet to be #5. Just ask TO.
Look, didn’t he once sleep in cars as a child? Homeless? He’s made this career pay. He’s first class all the way. I wouldn’t begrudge him to earn an extra half mil next year. I’d actually be happy for him if he can get it.
He’ll always be a Packer, just like the Packer gave Harris a SB ring in 2010 even though he didn’t play. There are other ways to acknowledge these guys. DD isn’t on the roster after this year and we’ll all still love the guy. You know what? He knows it too!
I really wish Driver had retired last year, and gone out with that Dancing with the Stars thing. I do not give two shits about Dancing with the Stars. This was an unnecessary distraction. He should have gone out last year when he still contributed to the team in a meaningful way.
The best case scenario is, The Packers get to, and win, the Super Bowl. Thats the best send off that can happen for Driver. I agree with Tequila…The activate Driver page serves no purpose. An internet activate page doesn’t make personel decisions for the Green Bay Packers, as a matter of fact, its insulting to the organization. We all love Driver, thats a given. I think Driver values his time and records he set with the Green Bay Packers enough to retire gracefully. No one likes seeing him go, but Father time is undefeated.
You have to remember most great players don’t finish with the team they started with Jerry Rice in a Raiders uni comes to mind. But whatever DD decides to do he will always have a job in GB waiting as a fan ambassador or something of those sorts. As for not getting his due right now when his name is put up at Lambeau that will be his due only few have had the privilege.
He will make more money long term if he keeps his legacy intact as a packer and not dick around with another team only to get cut.
I remembered when he cried after the Packers won the Super Bowl in 2010. That touched my heart. He is one classy guy, personally I’d like to see him retire as a Packer. Obviously the Packers are very deep at WR, and it is all about winning.
I see the writing on the wall as well as the next guy. My heart wants a SB win this year so Drive can retire a Packer. I believe he will retire if he gets that second ring. I want to hate on TT & MM for play design & play calling–if you don’t get targeted, you won’t get many yards–but I can’t hate on them. They want to win probable more than I do since they get paid for winning. Those guys weren’t around when Reggie White was let go from the team. The Minister of Defense, by the way, was the first NFL player to have his jersey retired by multiple teams.
I cannot & will not look past DD contributions off the field & in the locker room.
Win the ring, offer Driver a position in player development, special teams assistant coach, or even wide receivers assistant. Allow him to out with all the dignity he deserves.
Driver has been a great Packer. Best for him to retire than risk serious injury at this stage. I wish him all the best.
In my mind The Don is the quintessential Packers player. Who can ever forget the huge grin on his face in the numerous sideline shots during the fantastic run with He-who-cannot-be-named at QB.
Unfortunately, the game has changed over the past 20 years… Were in the era of Jumbo receivers – which had less to big, fast hard hitting secondary players…..
DD is showing true class in keeping this thing from becoming a distraction…..
Mr. Jennings should take a que from that…..
I really hope that he can leave with another super bowl ring. DD going out on top would be well deserved.