Packers Great Donald Driver Talks Football, Fatherhood, His Foundation, & More
Donald Driver didn’t just make an impact in the NFL, but he did off the field as well. Growing up as a kid Donald and his family faced tough times. Driver took that adversity and used it as motivation to create a better life for himself. Football fans know the mark he left not only in Green Bay, but throughout the league. The four time Pro Bowler helped the Packers win Super Bowl XLV in 2011 as Green Bay beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25.
The Green Bay Packers Receiving Yards All-Time Leader also won the Ed Block Courage Award. This award is given to players, who are voted by their teammates as role models of inspiration, sportsmanship, and courage. Driver continued to inspire people when he created the Donald Driver Foundation in 2001. The foundation helps families find homes, assists in educating kids, and helps recognize those people who do wonderful things in their community.
Driver is an accomplished author as well. His book “Driven” was on the New York Times Best Sellers list. He has also written three children’s books. Each book focuses on a challenge a kid or an adult may experience in life. He will have another children’s book out later this year called “Quickie Handles a Bully.”
Art Eddy: Many players who get drafted in the late rounds have chip on their shoulder. How much of a factor was that for you to prove that to the teams that passed on you that they made the wrong choice picking someone else?
Donald Driver: In 1999 when I got drafted that was the first thing I did. Teams told me that they were thinking about drafting me the first day. Then they would say we would draft you the second day and you shouldn’t go no later than the fourth round.
So when all these teams are calling you to tell you that they are going to draft you, but you sit there during the draft at home with your family and the first day goes by and you don’t get picked up. The next day comes and you don’t get picked up again and you basically think your career is over.
Now you have to go and find a normal job. I had that chip on my shoulder. When the Green Bay Packers called me in the seventh round after 32 receivers got taken before me I just wanted to prove to the league and to the other teams that they made the wrong choice. They should have drafted me earlier. The Green Bay Packers took a chance on me and that is why I was able to retire with them and give them a legacy instead of another team.
AE: Can you describe your emotions and memories from your first NFL game?
DD: Oh wow. My first memory that I actually made it in the NFL was our first family night scrimmage in Green Bay, Wisconsin. I remember Brett (Favre) sitting down with me and telling me that this wasn’t Alcorn State University where you only have 20,000 people. It is going to be about 60,000 people in those stands.
I remember walking out that tunnel just for that family night scrimmage, offense versus defense and there were 57,000 fans in the stands. They were yelling and screaming. From there I was just going nuts. I remember Brett and I walking out of the tunnel and he said to me, ‘Hey Drive, welcome to the NFL.’
I had an amazing practice that week. I was catching everything. I think from there it solidified my opportunity to make it on the Green Bay roster.