Wide receiver Donald Driver wanted to retire as a Green Bay Packer, and now he'll get the chance to do that. On May 30th, 2012, it was announced that Driver, the Packers' all time leader in both receptions and receiving yards, will indeed return for his 14th season as a Green Bay Packer. This is welcome news as his return had been uncertain, even doubtful, since the Packers were eliminated in the playoffs by the New York Giants back in January.
Driver was determined to stay, and restructured his contract (no doubt taking a pay cut) to remain a Packer. He was prepared to move on and play somewhere else if a deal couldn't be reached, and I'm glad that we won't face the possibility of seeing Driver in another uniform.
As would be expected for a team that relies on its passing game for most of its offense, the Packers have a deep, and very good, receiving corps. The conventional wisdom was that the 37 year old Driver would be the odd man out to make room for highly regarded prospects Tori Gurley and Diondre Borel, who currently reside on the practice squad. The Packers also have veterans Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, and second year man Randall Cobb all returning. Even with all that talent, I feel there is a place for Driver on the roster. Although Driver is not guaranteed a spot on the team in September, the fact that coach Mike McCarthy indicated he may go with six receivers instead of the usual five indicates he's serious about Driver having a role on the team if he has a good training camp.
Driver is not the deep threat that he was years ago, but he doesn't have to be. Jennings and Nelson have that covered, and I expect to see the speedy Cobb go deep more this year now that he has a year in the league. Driver still has good hands and is very good on shorter routes. I look at his role now to be as a short yardage receiver inside the red zone or when a few yards are needed for a first down. Besides his contributions on the field, Driver also provides leadership in the locker room.
As most fans know, Driver and partner Peta Murgatroyd won this past season's Dancing with the Stars competition. In addition to his usual daily off season football workouts, Driver practiced the dance routines several hours a day. The result of all that training was that Driver arrived in Green Bay for OTA's in excellent shape.
I'd like to see the Packers find a front office or coaching position for Driver when he finally does retire as a player. One of the more popular players in Packers' history, Driver would be a good fit for a public relations position, or as an assistant coach working with wide receivers.
A Featured Contributor in Sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Mark Hudziak has been a fan of the Green Bay Packers since the Vince Lombardi era.
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