NEWS BLOG (WSAU) There’s so much to like about Donald Driver. Winning smile. Positive attitude. His willingness to catch all those over-the-middle slant passes from Brett Favre earlier in his career. His charity work.
What I like most is celebrating a life that turns out differently (better) than expected. Driver grew up on the poor streets of Houston. Getting into college and earning a degree was an accomplishment. No one would have predicted the success he’d have in the NFL. Yet everyone uses similar words to describe him: modest, approachable, a family man, community-minded, friendly… those qualities are magnified because so many athletes and celebrities lack them.
I’m sure Donald Driver is dissatisfied with his final season in the NFL. He was on the Packers inactive list in favor of younger players. His playing time was diminished in favor of younger, faster wide receivers -- a legend displaced by young-guns. In his last game, Driver was playing on the punt-coverage team.
Driver probably also has an appreciation for what Brett Favre gave up by playing for the Jets and Vikings late in his career. Favre was seen as disloyal to Packers, which is unfair. If a team doesn’t want you, but you still want to play – who’s to say you shouldn’t. But during those years, Favre’s persona was exposed as less than authentic. He could have been the public face of the Packers franchise for a generation. Instead he’ll wait years for fences to be mended. Yet Donald Driver decided he didn’t want to be anything but a Packer. The PR benefits in retirement that would have flowed to Favre will flow to him. Both men may be inducted into the Packers hall of fame at the same time. Who will get the loudest cheers? The one who’s the genuine article.