Packers WR Donald Driver made his retirement announcement on Thursday morning on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike In The Morning program, which was broadcasting live from New Orleans, site of Super Bowl XLVII. Driver joined hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic on their radio set in New Orleans and was immediately asked what his future held.
“I’m going to officially put the cleats on the shelf and walk away from the game,” Driver said. “I’m calling it a career.”
Driver went on to explain that he reached the decision after talking to his wife and kids at the end of the season, his 14th, all with the Packers. Green Bay was eliminated from the NFC playoffs in the divisional round by the San Francisco 49ers, who will play the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday in the Super Bowl.
“My wife said something truly special to me,” Driver said. “She didn’t want to go anywhere else. That made it easy for me.”
Driver didn’t delve into too many other details of his decision, saying he would save those thoughts for the public event at the Lambeau Field Atrium on Feb. 6.
“I want to do something special, I want to do it in front of the fans, something that no other player has done,” he said. “I’m going to open my retirement up to the fans and give them everything they deserve.”
Driver said he was “at peace” with the decision, but he acknowledged there have been and will be some hard moments. He did emphasize, amidst implied jokes about his former QB, Brett Favre, that he’s not coming back.
“Very difficult. It’s always difficult, especially when you feel you can still play the game,” he said. “You just let it go and say, ‘There’s other things out there, the next chapter of your career, and I’m ready for it.”
It sounds as though that next chapter will be as a family man. He and his wife, Betina, have three school-age children.
“Someone’s always going to be able to tell my kids that their dad was a great football player, but no one is going to be able to tell my kids that their dad was a great dad and great husband,” Driver said. “So I have to be able to show them that, and that’s what next chapter of my career is going to be.”
Asked what he will cherish the most about his career, Driver didn’t single anyone or anything out.
“All 14 years. Every day,” he said. “The biggest thing is walking out of that tunnel at Lambeau. It’s a special place to walk out of and that’s something I’ll never forget.”
Driver didn’t get emotional at all in making his announcement, but he suggested that he probably would next week when he’s back in Green Bay.
“It hasn’t really hit me at this moment,” he said. “I think it’s really going to hit on Feb. 6 when I have my entire family there and three, four thousand fans standing out there.
“Somebody always says next year, but for me, it won’t be.”
Tags: donald driver, retire
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The NFL Network’s 8 1/2 hours of pregame coverage begins at 8 a.m. CT from the Superdome in New Orleans. According to an NFL Network release, Favre will go on the air to discuss his thoughts on the 2012 NFL season, the San Francisco-Baltimore matchup and his life away from the field.
Favre’s lone Super Bowl triumph came at the Superdome in New Orleans on Jan. 26, 1997, a 35-21 Packers victory over the New England Patriots.
Tags: brett favre, nfl network, super bowl
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Four Packers — Head Coach Mike McCarthy, QB Aaron Rodgers, LB Clay Matthews and C Jeff Saturday — contributed to the production of a new PSA to raise awareness of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS, a disease that afflicts former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason.
You can view the PSA on Gleason’s “Team Gleason” website right here.
Gleason played for the Saints when McCarthy was offensive coordinator there. DB Charles Woodson also is participating in the effort, but he wasn’t featured in this first video release. Woodson is expected to be shown in an upcoming video.
Tags: aaron rodgers, als, charles woodson, clay matthews, mike mccarthy, steve gleason
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Packers C Jeff Saturday, who announced late last week he was retiring after the Pro Bowl, switched sides momentarily in Sunday’s all-star game in Hawaii to take one last snap with his longtime teammate, QB Peyton Manning.
Saturday and Manning played a dozen years together as Indianapolis Colts and went to two Super Bowls together. According to Saturday, Manning orchestrated the switcheroo and tribute snap. Saturday played his final NFL season for the Packers in 2012 while Manning is now with the Denver Broncos.
The NFC, coached by the Packers coaching staff, defeated the AFC, 62-35. The only other Packers player to participate in the game was G Josh Sitton, who was appearing in his first Pro Bowl.
Tags: jeff saturday, josh sitton, pro bowl
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Matthews will join the CBS team of James Brown, Dan Marino, Bill Cowher, Shannon Sharpe, Boomer Esiason and Greg Gumbel on the set of “The Super Bowl Today” from the Superdome in New Orleans, La., on Sunday, Feb. 3.
Matthews was voted to the Pro Bowl this season for the fourth consecutive year but did not travel to Hawaii to participate. He has been named to the NFC’s Pro Bowl squad each of the four years of his career.
Tags: cbs, clay matthews, super bowl
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Packers G Josh Sitton has been added to the NFC Pro Bowl roster. Sitton was a first alternate at guard, and he was named to the team on Sunday when the 49ers advanced to the Super Bowl. San Francisco G Mike Iupati — a Pro Bowl starter for the NFC — will not be participating in the all-star game.
It’s the first Pro Bowl nod for Sitton, who has been an alternate in the past. The Packers coaching staff is coaching the NFC squad for the second straight year. The Pro Bowl is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 27, in Hawaii.
Sitton started every game at right guard for the Packers this past season — all 16 in the regular season and both playoff contests.
Tags: josh sitton, pro bowl
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The board made the proclamation at its Wednesday night meeting and read a statement from Driver, who could not be present.
“It is truly an honor to have January 17, 2013, become Donald Driver Day. I will always appreciate the special relationship that I share with Green Bay Packers fans, and I have so many incredible memories of my time spent in Green Bay and Brown County. I look forward to remaining a fixture in the community here for many years to come! Thank you to the Brown County Executive, Chairman, and Brown County Board of Supervisors for this proclamation. God bless, and Go Pack Go!”
Here is the text of the official proclamation from Brown County:
OFFICIAL PROCLAMATION IN appreciation of
WHEREAS, Donald Driver, a.k.a. “Double D”, has been sporting number 80 with the Packers for 14 seasons, while earning a Super Bowl Championship, four Pro Bowl Selections, becoming the all- time leading receiver for the Packers, and recently receiving the coveted mirror ball trophy on the 14th season of ABC network program, “Dancing with the Stars; and
WHEREAS, Donald is no stranger to setbacks but yet continues to move forward in making a difference in people’s lives by donating his time and efforts to organizations such as the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Goodwill Industries; and
WHEREAS, in 2000 Donald along with his wife Betina created the “Donald Driver Foundation,” focusing on minimizing the challenges of homeless families and lack of education, along with donating to a variety of other charities, providing motivational speeches, writing children’s books, and offering assistance to those in need; and
WHEREAS, Donald has been recognized for his contribution to his communities by receiving the Walter Payton Man of the Year award in 2002, the only off the field community service awarded by the NFL , the Community Service Award in 2001 by Green Bay Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Ed Block Courage award by his teammates; and
WHEREAS, when Donald is not spending time with his family, on the field or giving back to his community you will find him on his TV show Inside the Huddle, hear him on one of Milwaukee’s number 1 rated A.M. radio stations, or even managing his endorsements with top organizations such as Wisconsin Department of Transportation, McDonalds, Goodwill Industries and others; and
NOW, THEREFORE, We, Troy J. Streckenbach, Brown County Executive, Patrick Moynihan, Chairman of Brown County Board of Supervisors, along with the Brown County Board of Supervisors recognize Donald Driver and his overwhelming generosity to our community. And call onto all citizens to acknowledge and emulate his positive thinking and commitment to the community as a whole.
And do hereby proclaim Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, as a day of recognition as
Donald Driver Day
Tags: brown county, donald driver
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If you missed Mike Spofford’s season-ending chat, you can read the transcript right here.
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Head Coach Mike McCarthy spoke rather positively about TE Jermichael Finley in his season-ending press conference on Tuesday, praising the fifth-year tight end for finishing the 2012 season very strongly.
While battling a shoulder injury early in the season, Finley’s production dipped. He started the season with seven receptions in the season opener, but through the first nine games he had 60 yards receiving in a game just once. Following the bye in Week 10, Finley reached or surpassed 60 yards in a game five times over the final seven weeks of the regular season. He had four games with at least five receptions over the final five weeks.
Finley finished the regular season with 61 receptions, a Packers single-season record for a tight end. He gained 667 yards and scored two TDs. He added five catches for 45 yards in the two playoff games.
Amidst some media speculation that Finley, who has one year left on a two-year contract he signed following the 2011 season, might not be back with the Packers next season at his current price tag, McCarthy made it sound as though he has every chance to return. Though McCarthy, as he said repeatedly on Tuesday, wasn’t making any final declarations about anybody.
“I’ve really felt Jermichael Finley was a different man, different player from the bye week on,” McCarthy said. “I had an opportunity to talk to him about that at length in his exit interview.
“I feel very good about the way he finished the year. He did some good things Saturday night. There was a change in that young man. But we also have to look at that first half, too, and make sure that’s part of the evaluation. Because we’re all judged on (18) games.”
Tags: Jermichael Finley, mike mccarthy
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