Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 2/6/13
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Donald Driver went out in style, retiring from the Green Bay Packers in a way that no one else in the franchise's illustrious history ever had.The Packers' all-time leading receiver in yards and catches held a public ceremony Wednesday morning inside the Lambeau Field Atrium. Driver was joined by 1,000 of his most die-hard fans, most of whom waited outside in sub-zero temperatures five days earlier to get tickets to the event.It was already a day dedicated entirely to Driver, but that was made official when Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker handed him a plaque that stated Feb. 6, 2013 was now Donald Driver Day throughout the state.That was one of many distinct honors Driver received. He was also given a key to the city of Green Bay, a refurbished statue that will be turned from a generic Packers wide receiver statue into a Driver statue and his own street in Green Bay -- Donald Driver Way."To be honored like that is truly something special," Driver said during the question-and-answer session after his speech.Several people spoke on behalf of Driver at the event, both in-person as well as in a video package. Driver's popularity through "Dancing with the Stars" was evident as multiple entertainment stars sent him well-wishes in the video, including his dance partner Peta Murgatroyd and contestants from the show such as Jaleel White and Maria Menounos. Packers legends such as James Lofton (who wore Driver's No. 80 many years earlier) and Bart Starr also were part of the video package.Packers coach Mike McCarthy, general manager Ted Thompson and team president Mark Murphy all spoke at the event, each sharing their own unique memories of Driver as a player and as a person.McCarthy, who rarely shows his emotions publicly, tried his best not to cry. It didn't work. McCarthy was Green Bay's quarterbacks coach in 1999 when Driver was drafted by the Packers in the seventh round. McCarthy returned in 2006 as Green Bay's head coach.McCarthy kept himself emotionally in check throughout his speech until he began talking about what it was like to see Driver interact with everyone at a post-"Dancing with the Stars" dinner in Los Angeles. That's when the tears started to fall down McCarthy's face.McCarthy added that Driver's appearances on the popular dancing television program split Wisconsin men into two categories: those who wouldn't admit they watched the show but did and those who were comfortable enough in their own skin to not lie about watching it.Thompson, whose public persona makes McCarthy look downright emotional, kept his words mostly to football. He remembered back to 1999 when working under then-general manager Ron Wolf what the team saw in Driver as a draft prospect."A skinny, skinny player; a good player, but skinny," Thompson said. "He wasn't like he was this summer when he was half naked on Dancing with the Stars.' "Driver, who sat on stage with his wife, Betina, had a few teammates in attendance, including fellow receiver Jordy Nelson. But, once all the speeches were concluded, it was time for Driver to speak to the gathered crowd, many of whom shed tears during certain moments of the ceremony.As tissues were distributed around on the balcony of the Lambeau Field Atrium, Driver opened with a very sincere: "I love you all so much." Like McCarthy, Driver promised himself he wouldn't cry, but the 14-year Packer didn't have any better luck with that than his former coach.Driver stated specifically that he was going to retire rather than pursuing free-agent opportunities with other NFL teams."I feel I can still play the game," Driver, 38, said. "But, I have to retire as a Green Bay Packer. I always said I never wanted to wear another uniform. I'm walking away from the game having given it all I can. I owe it to the fans and to this fine organization not to tarnish the legacy that they have established in me and my family."Driver spoke about the promise he made more than a decade ago when signing his first big contract with the Packers, that he would never wear another jersey."Today, we make that official; I keep my promise to you," Driver said. "The loyalty you all have instilled in me and my family, I have to keep my loyalty to you and not play for another team and to retire in the green and gold."Driver then thanked a list of people, including McCarthy, Thompson, Murphy, Wolf, his mother, his wife and kids, as well as his father, who wasn't in attendance while battling lung cancer. Those were the moments when Driver really began to get choked up.When all was said and done, Driver had one last message for the fans who supported him throughout his career in Green Bay: "I love you guys. It's been an awesome, awesome ride. Now, it's time for the next chapter." Follow Paul Imig on Twitter.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Lakers would fire Byron Scott to hire Luke Walton

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Seahawks’ Frank Clark rips Cam Newton ‘that boy a b—‘

Report: Tom Thibodeau has 'always wanted' Knicks job

Report: Luke Walton will not consider coaching offers until offseason

Budweiser: Peyton Manning not paid for Super Bowl beer plug

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Archie Manning: 'I think Peyton's done in Denver'

Donald Trump: I told Tom Brady not to endorse me for President

Marshawn Lynch: Complicated and talented NFL anti-hero

Hue Jackson lets Manziel and ex know they aren’t alone

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

Tyronn Lue faces backlash for Cavs record since Blatt’s firing

Candidates for New York Knicks head coaching job

Attorney alleges Johnny Manziel ruptured ex-girlfriend's eardrum

Jeanie Buss may clean house in Lakers’ front office

Lisa Ann wants to reward Emmanuel Sanders for Super Bowl win

WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan to announce retirement

Nine best and worst players from 2015 NFL playoffs

Rodman wants Phil Jackson to know he’s ready to coach Knicks

Wade Phillips trolls Cam Newton with dabbing tweet

Top defensive performances in Super Bowl history

FBI questions Jeremy Shockey about drug and gambling ring

Coldplay drummer thought Johnny Football was real name

Ranking every game from 2015 NFL Playoffs

PHOTO: Panthers LB shows gruesome arm injury after SB

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker