Found February 06, 2013 on Fox Sports Wisconsin:
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- If there were any further evidence needed to demonstrate just how wildly popular Donald Driver is among Packers fans, the retirement ceremony held in honor of the franchise's all-time leading receiver was it. Driver shouldn't be considered just another popular former Green Bay player. The excitement and emotion inside the Lambeau Field Atrium on Wednesday morning was the final bit of proof that Driver is the most beloved player to put on a Packers uniform since the Vince Lombardi era. Over the past 40 or so years, many great players have worn the green and gold. None of them, though, has been as cherished in the hearts and minds of Packers fans as Driver. Given the extensive 94-year history of the Green Bay franchise, there aren't many opportunities left to be the first to do something. However, no Packers player has ever ended his career like Driver did. Thousands of players have come and gone, but none of them has ever officially announced his retirement in a public setting as Driver did. But it wasn't just the public setting that made Wednesday's ceremony unique. When Driver and the Packers decided to make tickets to the event free, a frenzy ensued. The morning tickets were distributed, fans waited outside in subzero temperatures to get the 1,000 available, snapping every last ticket up in 18 minutes. Some fans arrived seven hours in advance, wearing multiple layers of clothing and braving the cold just for the chance to be a part of the final goodbye to Driver. Five days after the ticket distribution was completed and it was time for the actual event, the fanatical response had not lessened one bit. Inside the Lambeau Field Atrium, 1,500 people stood shoulder-to-shoulder behind a barricade as Driver gave his tearful speech. "I love you all so much," Driver said. Many fans shouted their love back, but they didn't have to. It was clearly a mutual feeling. Every time Driver began to get choked up, several people in the crowd had to grab for their tissues. Even as the video package played and showed Driver's best moments with the Packers, people cried. These were sincere reactions. Fans couldn't seem to believe that this was it for Driver. And they weren't alone. Coach Mike McCarthy, who almost never shows any signs of emotion, couldn't get through his speech without shedding tears and having to stop himself mid-sentence. "I almost made it," McCarthy said as the crowd cheered him on. Driver isn't regarded in this way by Packers fans and coaches just because he was a great football player. No, his connection to the world around him extended well beyond what was accomplished on the field. Driver came from very humble beginnings in his childhood and got into some trouble. He played college football at Alcorn State, a program that isn't exactly an NFL factory. Driver wasn't drafted until the seventh round by Green Bay in 1999. When he entered training camp, he was last on the depth chart at wide receiver. The chances of him making the roster and having an impact were small. The chances of him becoming the Packers' all-time leading receiver were the against-all-odds stuff that only the best Hollywood script writer could pull off with any believability. That's part of what has endeared Driver to Packers fans. Playing in the smallest city of any professional sports team in the country, Driver authored a success story borne of hard work and dedication. He was talented and athletic, yes, but nothing was handed to him. His place in Packers history the bridge from the Lombardi years to the future could have been occupied by the guy who used to throw him the ball, but Brett Favre and Driver took very different paths late in their careers. Favre changed his mind on retirement for a third time and was eventually traded. Driver could have signed elsewhere this offseason and played a couple more years, but he chose to retire a Packer for life. "Twelve years ago, I signed my first big contract for the Green Bay Packers and I promised you all that I would never wear another uniform," Driver said. "Today, we make that official; I keep my promise to you. 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." It certainly helps that Driver became a national celebrity through his "Dancing with the Stars" title. Driver's success on the dance floor turned him from football icon to national icon, boosting his public profile to another level inside and outside the state. Now, as Driver enters his post-playing days, he leaves the Packers as the most popular player to walk through the doors at Lambeau Field in a long, long time. Follow Paul Imig on Twitter.

Donald Driver surprises his biggest fan

Donald Driver spent all 14 years of his career with the Green Bay Packers, and he is one of the most popular players in team history. While there are plenty of No. 80 jerseys floating around the Green Bay area at the moment, the owner of one of them may be his biggest fan. Angie LeRoy, a 78-year-old cancer survivor from Bellevue, recently decorated her door to honor Driver and his...

After ceremony, Driver made surprise stop

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Donald Driver isn't the most popular player in recent Packers history just for catching passes. The beloved and newly retired wide receiver had one more surprise Wednesday on his way out of Green Bay. Just hours after the franchise's all-time leading receiver gave his tearful goodbye in front of 1,500 fans inside the Lambeau Field Atrium, he stopped by...

Donald Driver surprises biggest fan

We’re getting softer and less snarky in our older age. We like feel-good stories. So, on a blustery day in the Northeast, a warm-your-heart tale is just what the doctor ordered. Our thanks to Donald Driver. Driver, the lifelong Packers receiver who announced his retirement at the end of the season, is one of those guys who is consistently described as a class act. It’s hard to...

Favre, Rodgers Salute Driver

As part of Donald Driver's retirement ceremony on Wednesday, the team assembled quotes from all sorts of Packers legends and standouts. Here are just a few, including Jerry Kramer, who called Driver a "quintessential Packer" who "cared about people."

Packers WR Donald Driver calls it a career

Donald Driver rewrote the Green Bay Packers record books and on Wednesday morning, the wildly popular wide receiver might've rewritten the book on how a player should call it a career. Officially retiring after 14 seasons - all with the Packers, something that was extremely important to him - the franchise's all-time leading receiver celebrated his career during an unprecedented...

Green Bay Packers WR Donald Driver officially retires

Donald Driver told ESPN radio hosts Mike and Mike during Super Bowl XLVII that he was going to retire after the 2012 season, but held off to make an “official” announcement. That announcement came on Wednesday in Green Bay in front of Packers fans. In front of 1,500 fans and various dignitaries, the 14-year veteran officially called it quits. “I told myself I wasn’t going...

Former Green Bay WR Donald Driver Has a Special Stop to Make Before Heading to Texas

Since free agency became the norm in the NFL there has been one thing that has been slowly dying out--team longevity. Fewer and fewer players are staying with one team opting to head for greener pastures (more money), but not necessarily a better team. When the Green Bay Packers season ended one of their greats, wide receiver Donald Driver, decided to call it a career. Here...

Driver delivers on Packer for life promise

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...

Driver’s Legacy: Popularity to Match Talent

Tears, cheers and quite possibly a few beers. Donald Driver’s retirement ceremony at the Lambeau Field Atrium provided a one-of-a-kind day for a one-of-a-kind player. Our Matt Tevsh was there and offers his thoughts on the legacy Driver leaves after 14 years in Green Bay.


Ok, Roste hasn’t loved the love fest for Double D…even though he is a class act and a Packer and all… I mean it was INSANELY out of control, however this is pretty damn cool.  Only Packer Fans!   I love my Green and Gold Baby! Click here to view the embedded video.

Driver Handled Declining Role with Class

Perhaps nothing spoke of Donald Driver's professionalism more than how he handled his final years. Once one of the league's elite receivers, a fast-improving group of newcomers chipped away at his role and eventually pushed him out of the league.

Retirement Gifts: Street and Statue

The Receiver statue, located at Titletown Brewing Co. on the renamed Donald Driver Way, will be given a Donald Driver-style makeover.

The Driver transcript: 4,500 words of memories

Team president and CEO Mark Murphy I want to first thank all the fans for coming out today. I know a lot of you waited in line in the cold to get your tickets and you waited this morning, so give yourselves a round of applause. It's always a little bittersweet when a great player's career ends like Donald's. But this is just special day. It's a great day for the...

Pixar Animator Creates Artistic Rendering for Each Week of NFL Season (Photos)

The NFL season came to a close with John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens raising another Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in New Orleans. If you’re having football withdrawals, NFL fans can now relive the season through animation. Austin Madison has been an animator on such hit Pixar films as Ratatouille, Up and Brave. The Pixar animator...
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