Donald Driver would only come out of retirement to play for the Packers

Brian McIntyre
Shutdown Corner

After 14 seasons with the Green Bay Packers, wide receiver Donald Driver announced his retirement on Feb. 6. A little over four months later, Driver says that a few NFL teams have reached out, but only the Packers could coax him out of retirement, reports Paul Imig of FOX Sports Wisconsin.

"I think the thing is, if you have the itch to continue to play, then it doesn't matter who you play for, because that's what you want to do,” Driver said. "You just want to play the game. I love the game, but I only love one team. When you love the game, you'll play for anybody. Anybody who offers you something, you're willing to step on the field and play for them.

"I decided that I love one team. But I do love the game. At the end of the day, if I get that itch, it would only be for the green and gold."

Driver, 38, was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason and is eligible to sign with any team that is interested in adding a veteran receiver to their roster. Seeing Driver in another uniform would certainly be strange, but it certainly wouldn't be any stranger than Brett Favre in Minnesota Vikings and New York Jets jerseys and Driver would hardly be the first player to finish his career in a different uniform. Franco Harris finished his carer with the Seattle Seahawks, while Joe Namath spent a season with the Los Angeles Rams and Johnny Unitas ended his career with the San Diego Chargers. A closer example for Driver could be Cris Carter, who is largely identified with the Minnesota Vikings, but had transitioned to a media role in 2002 before returning to the field to play in eight games for the Miami Dolphins.

Playing for one team for an entire career means something to Driver, though.

"I talked to so many different guys and every guy that I've talked to said they wish they never went to another team," Driver said. "They always wished they would've retired with that team that they played 10, 11, 12 years for.

"When I asked them, 'Should I go back?,' they say, 'If you don't have that love for another team, don't go back. You're not going to get the same love, you're not going to get the same respect that you got from them that you got from Green Bay.'"

Driver is currently the Packers' all-time leader with 743 receptions and 10,137 receiving yards, and his 61 receiving touchdowns are the third-highest total in the storied franchise's history. Driver topped 50 receptions in a season as recently as 2010, but took a steep pay cut to remain a Packer in 2012. Driver started one of the 13 games he dressed for in 2012, and caught just eight passes for 77 yards with two touchdowns while playing in 13.6 percent of the team's offensive snaps.

The top of the Packers' depth chart is filled as Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and James Jones fill the top three roles. The No. 4 receiver role will be decided between Jarrett Boykin, 2013 seventh-round picks Charles Johnson and Kevin Dorsey and a group of street and undrafted rookies. If the Packers suffer some injuries, though, or are not pleased with how those unknown commodities at the position are handling a larger role, they could ask Driver to don his No. 80 jersey once again.

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