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.”
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