Wednesday February 6th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL
Donald Driver officially retired from the Green Bay Packers today, and in my opinion is one of a precious few in professional sports who clearly understand how the big picture works. He’s had one of the most successful careers I can think of in any sport in decades, and his star still shines.
I have admired him on and off the field for the entire fourteen year run he has spent playing for the Green Bay Packers, but I encourage anyone – even a non sports fan – to look deeper into how his life has unfolded. I would admire this guy even if he played for the despised Chicago Bears.
There are so many good things to say, I hardly know where to start. He not only was drafted in the last round, he was the last of two picks in that round. He was taken with a draft pick that was obtained from the Bears in exchange for Glyn Milburn, and that makes it all that much sweeter.
He was a picture of consistency throughout his career in Green Bay, but off the field has been a champion for charity and pillar of the community. There are all kinds of stories about him having a scheduled appearance of a certain length but staying far longer to make sure fans were happy.
I can’t believe every professional athlete isn’t like Donald Driver, but unfortunately he is about as rare as someone on ‘COPS’ being arrested with a shirt on. He has been a great professional on the field and a greater human being off of it. I am proud to be a Green Bay Packer fan when there are players like Donald Driver to cheer for, and he is what’s right about pro athletes in general.
So few of us ever get a chance to experience the privilege of playing big time sports, and many of us – me included – tried with every ounce of our being hoping to make it so. I feel with such a rare honor comes a responsibility to be a role model to others but not everyone agrees with me.
How hard is it really to sign an autograph or shake a hand and have someone tell you they love everything you do? Those moments will last a lifetime for those who receive it, and it’s always a win/win situation because the love will be reciprocated. Donald Driver has always grasped that.
Do you think he’s ever going to have to buy a meal or a drink in the entire state of Wisconsin if he lives to be 100? Will he ever be out of a job or a place to live? Hardly. He could probably run for governor of Wisconsin, and I’m sure many wish he would. He’s earned the status of legend.
Brett Favre was also on a path to have the same kind of unbridled love, but his selfishness and lack of class fumbled that away years ago. Yes, he was a great player but it didn’t end well after many years of him being the pampered golden child and many – me included – won’t forget it.
Donald Driver was the exact opposite. Everything he did reeked of class, and other players and teams in all of pro sports should look at his career as a shining example of how it can and should be done. The guy is beloved in Green Bay, WI and for a black guy that’s not easy to pull off. He has transcended race and everything else, and is a stellar example of how to truly succeed. I can’t see anyone ever eclipsing the well rounded career Donald Driver has had. Hats off to a true hero.