Packers all-time leading receiver Driver to retire
Though coach Mike McCarthy didn't say as much during their postseason meeting, Driver knew he wasn't in the Packers plans for next season.
"I just kind of knew in his eyes," Driver said. "When you've known a guy for so long and you're friends, it's hard for him to tell you that they're not going to bring me back. I just kind of looked at him and I just kind of knew that that's what they were going to do."
And that made his decision easy.
Minnesota reportedly had interest in Driver, and he said he thinks there would have been other teams that wanted him, too. But he wasn't going to play for anyone besides the Packers, a decision supported by his wife Bettina and their three children.
"Do I feel like I can still play? Yes," he said. "But at the end of the day, I owe it to the fans to put the cleats up. I promised them years ago that I would never wear nothing but green and gold, so I owe it to them to walk away."
Driver also didn't want to put the Packers in a tough spot, having watched them go through their messy divorce with Brett Favre.
"I just wanted to make it easy on the organization, not put any pressure on them," Driver said. "Just be able to walk away on my own terms and not have them say, 'We're not going to bring you back.'"
Instead, the Packers are hosting his retirement party next week. Driver's formal announcement will be made in the Lambeau Field Atrium, and there are a limited number of free tickets for fans available on a first-come, first-served basis.
"I'm happy with the decision I made," Driver said. "It will be a little tougher on Feb. 6. I'm going to get emotional. I'm trying not to get too emotional today, but Feb. 6 I know will be emotional."
While Driver may be retiring, there will still be plenty to keep him busy. He's got a book coming out in September, and will appear on "Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition." The "Dancing with the Stars" champion is also exploring possibilities in broadcasting, and would be open to a hybrid of sports and entertainment, similar to what former New York Giants linebacker Michael Strahan has done.
But no matter what he does, he'll always be part of the Packers.
"It means the world. Not too many guys get to play for one organization," Driver said. "What I feel like I've done on and off the field has truly been a blessing."
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