Former Packers receiver Donald Driver remembers the shock felt when Brett Favre introduced his retirement on March 4, 2008.
After all, Favre went on to play for 3 extra seasons with the New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings. Maybe that is why Driver is just not taking an excessive amount of inventory within the hypothesis about Aaron Rodgers’ future in Inexperienced Bay — one of many main matters of dialog within the 2021 NFL offseason.
“The one (ones) that know what they will do are the Packers and Aaron Rodgers,” Driver instructed Sporting Information. “As analysts and outsiders, we wish to have the ability to analyze what’s going on. That is what makes us nice at what we do. The factor is, we need to perceive it is nonetheless that particular person’s selection and that particular person’s determination.
“We all know that is going be the hiccup,” he mentioned. “Aaron goes to be a legend. He is at all times going to have the ability to stroll into Lambeau Discipline or wherever he could go, and he is a Corridor of Famer. We all know that, but it surely’s his determination.”
Driver introduced his partnership with Master Lock’s “Community Champions” program Wednesday as a part of his continued charity work inside the Inexperienced Bay group.
Driver is Inexperienced Bay’s all-time chief with 10,137 receiving yards. He was a seventh-round decide within the 1999 NFL Draft who emerged as a favourite goal for Favre and Rodgers, and he spent all of his 14 seasons with the Packers.
Driver is fast to level out that each retirement story has totally different wrinkles. He was a part of a receiving corps that featured Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and James Jones throughout Inexperienced Bay’s Tremendous Bowl 45 run after the 2010 season.
Jennings left for Minnesota after the 2012 season, and Driver had a selection. Driver, nonetheless, made a private determination that allowed Nelson, Cobb and Jones to remain in Inexperienced Bay longer. He nonetheless obtained presents to play, together with one with NFC North rival Minnesota.
“I knew if I stayed longed sufficient, then these guys would have needed to go some place else and play like we have seen all of them do (later),” Driver mentioned. “It was straightforward for me to stroll away realizing they had been good buddies of mine and that allowed them to play the sport they wished to in Inexperienced Bay. I knew that if I walked away, then I might have a greater platform to do different issues.”
Driver had a 90-yard landing reception in Favre’s final recreation with the Packers — a 23-20 loss to the Giants within the NFC championship recreation on Jan. 20, 2008. He watched the NFC championship recreation final season — a 31-26 loss to Tampa Bay at Lambeau Discipline — and has heard comparable rumblings about Rodgers’ future with the franchise ever since.
Rodgers added to that when he mentioned, “A lot of guys’ futures, they’re uncertain, myself included,” after the loss to the Buccaneers.
Driver pointed to the 2021 NFL Draft and free company as components that would assist change the narrative round Rodgers, 37, who has spent 16 seasons in Inexperienced Bay. The Packers ignited hypothesis about how for much longer Rodgers could be in Inexperienced Bay after taking quarterback Jordan Love within the first spherical of the 2020 NFL Draft.
“I believe everyone knows what the No. 1 place was all of us talked about final 12 months,” Driver mentioned. “They wanted a receiver. Marquez (Valdes-Scantling) stepped up final 12 months. (Allen) Lazard stepped up. These guys stepped up and performed, however you need to take the strain off Davante (Adams). You need to discover a good defensive finish and a few linebackers that may fill on the defensive aspect and make your decide from there.”
Inexperienced Bay additionally has been a nonfactor in free company, however Driver believes the Packers might nonetheless make additions after the draft.
“(Inexperienced Bay) has by no means went out in free company and grabbed a whole lot of nice gamers,” Driver mentioned. “Possibly they want to try this as properly. Attain out to free-agent guys and produce them in and assist Aaron get to the place he needs to get to. That is all people — get again to the Tremendous Bowl.”
From there, Driver is aware of the story might change after the 2021 season. He simply is aware of one a part of the story is just not going to alter.
“Aaron is at all times going to go down as one of many biggest Inexperienced Bay Packers in historical past, however everybody has to make their selection about the place they wish to go,” Driver mentioned.
Driver spoke to Sporting Information by his partnership with Grasp Lock, a Wisconsin-based firm that makes use of its “Group Champions” program to highlight those that make a distinction of their group. Driver was famend for his charitable efforts throughout his time with the Packers, and that work continues.
“It is a nice alternative to influence the position fashions which can be making an entire distinction,” Driver mentioned. “These ones which can be hid behind the partitions and do not get the publicity they should get, properly, Grasp Lock is giving them that chance. We get to honor folks locally who get ignored each single day.”
For extra, go to www.masterlock.com to inform the story of a Group Champion and add their photograph. Winners might obtain as much as $5,000 in money prizes.