Donald Driver

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Donald Driver
Donald Driver, Disney Social Media Moms Conference, 2014.jpg
Driver in April 2014
No. 80
Wide receiver
Personal information
Date of birth: (1974-02-02) February 2, 1974 (age 40)
Place of birth: Houston, Texas
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) Weight: 194 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High school: Houston (TX) Milby
College: Alcorn State
NFL Draft: 1999 / Round: 7 / Pick: 213
Debuted in 1999 for the Green Bay Packers
Last played in 2012 for the Green Bay Packers
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receptions 743
Receiving yards 10,137
Receiving TDs 61
Stats at NFL.com

Donald Jerome Driver (born February 2, 1974) is a retired American football wide receiver, New York Times bestselling author and season 14 Dancing with the Stars champion. After playing college football for Alcorn State University, Driver was picked by the Green Bay Packers in the seventh round of the 1999 NFL Draft. Driver spent his entire 14-season National Football League (NFL) career with the Packers and holds the franchise's all-time records for most career receptions and receiving yards.

Early life[edit]

Donald Jerome Driver was born in Houston, Texas on February 2, 1974. Driver was the middle child of five siblings. Driver's parents, Marvin Driver Jr. and Faye Gray divorced when he was just a young boy.[1] Donald had a tough childhood living out of a U-Haul truck for a period of time during his early teens, after a collection agency confiscated his family's possessions. Donald spent multiple nights in motel rooms that his mother had purchased with food stamps. Driver and his older brother Marvin III, began stealing cars and selling drugs during their teenage years in order make it from day to day. Driver was quoted by USA Today stating, "You try to do anything you can to provide for your family." At the age of 14 years old, Donald would move in with his grandmother, Betty Lofton. This was the point of time where Driver's life started to turn around.[1]

Donald Driver shone as an athlete early in his years at Milby High in Houston. He lettered four times each in track, football, basketball and baseball. Donald was a Texas All-State honorable mention in Football, where he played at the wide receiver, defensive back, and kickoff return positions.

[2]

College career[edit]

Donald Driver attended Alcorn State University in Mississippi, where he lettered in both football and track & field. He finished his college football career there with 88 receptions for 1993 yards (19.69 Yards Per Catch). He was a five-time "Athlete of the Year" in his conference for his track and football prowess.

Driver is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.[3]

Track and field[edit]

Donald Driver is one of the most decorated track athletes in the NFL (he is an Olympic class high jumper, being able to jump 7 feet 6 inches[4] and could have qualified for the 2000 Summer Olympics team).

Donald Driver was also a track star at Alcorn State University, where he specialized in the high jump, long jump and triple jump, with personal bests of 2.28 metres, 7.22 metres and 15.22 metres, respectively.

Personal bests[edit]

Event Mark (meters) Venue Date
High Jump 2.28 Baton Rouge, Louisiana April 12, 1996
Long Jump 7.22 Baton Rouge, Louisiana February 14, 1998
Triple jump 15.25 Baton Rouge, Louisiana February 15, 1998

Professional career[edit]

Donald Driver was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 7th round of the 1999 NFL Draft. He spent his entire career with the Packers.

Green Bay Packers (1999-2012)[edit]

Donald Driver on November 14, 2011.

Known as one of the most consistent wide receivers in the game,[5] Driver has been solid throughout his career, often posting 1,000 receiving yards in a season. Driver had the most catches in the NFL in the middle of the field in 2006. He set a career best for yards on November 12, 2006 when he caught six passes for 191 yards, including an 82-yard touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings.[6] Driver finished the 2006 season in the top five of the league in reception yardage with 1,295 yards.[7] He also recorded the most receptions in his career with 92 of them, earning a spot in the 2007 Pro Bowl.

On December 16, 2007 during a 33-14 victory over the St. Louis Rams, veteran Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre broke Dan Marino's all-time record mark of 61,361 career passing yards. The new record came on a seven-yard completion to Driver.[8] Driver was selected for the 2008 Pro Bowl.

In the NFC Championship game on January 20, 2008 against the New York Giants, Driver had the longest play in the playoffs of the Packers' franchise history with a 90-yard TD catch from Favre.[9]

On October 18, 2009, Donald Driver became the Green Bay Packers' all-time leading receiver in catches, with 596. He went on to catch six more balls for 107 yards in a 26-0 home victory over the Detroit Lions. On September 8, 2011, Driver caught four balls for 41 yards in the opening game against the New Orleans Saints and was only one yard short of becoming the Packers' all-time leader in receiving yards. Driver finally broke the Packers' all-time receiving yardage record on September 18, 2011 against the Carolina Panthers after he caught a 10-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers, surpassing James Lofton.

On February 6, 2011, Driver was injured on his second reception of Super Bowl XLV. Out with an ankle sprain, Driver returned to the game in the end for the final plays as the Packers went on to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25. Driver finished Super Bowl XLV with two receptions for 28 yards. Despite losing playing time to Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson, Driver has been a veteran presence for a young Packers receiving corps led by former NFL MVP QB Aaron Rodgers.

On January 31, 2013, Driver announced his retirement on ESPN2 Mike and Mike in the Morning after spending his entire career (14 seasons) with the Green Bay Packers.[10] He missed only four games in his career, the last one being November 18, 2012.[11]

On February 6, 2013, the Green Bay Packers hosted a public retirement ceremony for Donald Driver. This was the first public retirement ceremony ever held for a Green Bay Packers player. It was held in the Lambeau Field Atrium with comments made by Mark Murphy, Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy and of course Donald. It was sold out in 14 minutes and hundreds of fans were in attendance. The mayor of Green Bay Mayor presented Driver with a key to the city and announced that the receiver statue that previously resided in front of the former Packers Hall of Fame and is now in downtown Green Bay would be refurbished, with the receiver wearing a No. 80 Driver jersey. The street leading to the statue was also renamed “Donald Driver Way.”[12]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season[edit]

Source: [2]

Season Team GS Rec Yds Avg Long TDs
1999 Green Bay Packers 6 3 31 10.3 12 1
2000 Green Bay Packers 16 21 322 15.3 49 1
2001 Green Bay Packers 13 13 167 12.8 37 1
2002 Green Bay Packers 16 70 1,064 15.2 85 9
2003 Green Bay Packers 15 52 621 11.9 41 2
2004 Green Bay Packers 16 84 1,208 14.4 50 9
2005 Green Bay Packers 16 86 1,221 14.2 59 5
2006 Green Bay Packers 16 92 1,295 14.1 82 8
2007 Green Bay Packers 15 82 1,048 12.8 47 2
2008 Green Bay Packers 16 74 1,012 13.7 71 5
2009 Green Bay Packers 16 70 1,061 15.2 71 6
2010 Green Bay Packers 15 51 565 11.1 61 4
2011 Green Bay Packers 16 37 445 12.0 35 6
2012 Green Bay Packers 13 8 77 9.6 26 2
Total 205 743 10,137 13.6 85 61

Playoffs[edit]

Source: [3]

Season Team GS Rec Yds Avg Long TDs
2001 Green Bay Packers 2 2 26 13.0 14 0
2002 Green Bay Packers 1 3 64 21.3 25 1
2003 Green Bay Packers 2 8 91 11.4 23 0
2004 Green Bay Packers 1 7 78 11.1 16 0
2007 Green Bay Packers 2 8 159 19.9 90 1
2009 Green Bay Packers 1 4 43 10.8 28 0
2010 Green Bay Packers 4 14 169 12.1 24 0
2011 Green Bay Packers 1 3 45 15.0 16 1
Total 14 49 675 13.8 90 3

Personal life[edit]

Driver and family pose in front of the statue dedicated in his honor.

Since 2004, Driver has co-hosted the statewide Packer analysis television series Inside the Huddle with Donald Driver with WLUK-TV's sports director Drew Smith. Every Thursday Donald talks football with John Mercure on Wisconsin's Afternoon News with John Mercure on AM 620 WTMJ. He previously served as host to the annual Offense vs. Defense softball game featuring members of the Green Bay Packers.

As a well-known athlete in the state of Wisconsin, Driver has been featured in marketing campaigns for companies such as McDonald's, AirTran Airways, Kwik Trip, Goodwill, Jani-King and Time Warner Cable.

Throughout his career, Donald Driver has been very active off the field, making over 300 charitable appearances since his rookie season in 1999. In the spring of 2001, Donald and his wife Betina created the “Donald Driver Foundation”, which offers assistance to ill children with unmanageable hospital bills, provides housing for the homeless, and donates to a variety of local charities. In December 2003, the foundation put two previously homeless families in new, fully furnished homes.

Donald has also donated much of his time and efforts to such institutions as Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Goodwill Industries. In 2001, Driver was awarded the “Community Service Award” by the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce in recognition of his outstanding community involvement. In 2005 he was awarded the Ed Block Courage award by his Green Bay teammates. Most recently, Driver was named the 2013 AMVETS Humanitarian of the Year. [4]

Driver is also the author of three children's books, Quickie Handles a Loss, Quickie Makes the Team, and Quickie Goes to the Big Game. The books are based on Driver's bedtime storytelling to his three children, and are sold statewide in Wisconsin through bookstores, participating Goodwill locations, the Packer Pro Shop and on his website. He has stated that "Quickie" is a nickname his mother gave him because, when she would chase him around the house, she could never catch him. In the Fall of 2013, Driver released his official memoir, Driven, which included many personal stories about both his childhood and career with the Packers that he had never shared before.[13] Two weeks after the book's release, it made the New York Times Bestsellers list. [14]

On February 28, 2012 it was announced that Driver would join the cast of Dancing with the Stars for season 14. Driver and professional dance partner Peta Murgatroyd were declared winners on the season finale on May 22, 2012.

On June 15, 2013 Donald Driver received a street in his name and a statue dedicated in his honor. The statue is located on the corner of Dousman Street and Donald Driver Way (formerly Pearl Street) in downtown Green Bay.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Kramer, Martin (2012). "Donald Driver". In Mazurkiewicz, Margaret. Contemporary Black Biography 99. Detroit: Gale. 
  2. ^ "Donald Driver 80". DonaldDriver80.com. Retrieved 2013-03-28. 
  3. ^ "Greeks in Professional Football 2007". Greeks in Sports. North-American Interfraternity Conference. 
  4. ^ a b "Packer Draft notes". Packers.com. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  5. ^ Lori Nickel. "Packers' Driver determined to give back". Milwaukee Journal - Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  6. ^ Packers - Donald Driver Bio
  7. ^ NFL 2006 Season Statistics
  8. ^ "Favre passes Marino; Packers down Rams to clinch bye". TheSportsNetwork.com. Retrieved 2007-12-16. 
  9. ^ ESPN - NY Giants vs. Green Bay Packers - Recap - January 20, 2008
  10. ^ http://www.packers.com/news-and-events/article-1/From-humble-start-Donald-Driver-retires-in-greatness/c7fe6b9d-e3ca-4009-8482-a14e6665c72b
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ http://www.packers.com/news-and-events/article-1/Donald-Driver-others-share-memories-of-great-career/5c15f70c-6062-421c-b6d0-9963d44b3649
  13. ^ Driver, Donald. "Driver Q&A". Lammi Sports Management. Retrieved 24 September 2013. 
  14. ^ "Best Sellers". NYTimes.com. Retrieved 2013-11-10. 
  15. ^ Spofford, Mike "Donald Driver thanks fans for street and statue"

www.biography.com/people/donald-driver

External links[edit]