Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker declared it “Donald Driver Day” across the state as the Green Bay Packers wide receiver was celebrated at a retirement ceremony in the Lambeau Field Atrium today.
Driver retires as the Packers’ all-time leading receiver, a fine representative of the organization since 1999. Driver said he wanted to retire a Packer more than he wanted to continue his career elsewhere and the team let it be known he would not be brought back in 2013.
“I was the same guy who walked in 1999 and I’m the same guy who walks out in 2013,” Driver said, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “Success has no changed me. I’m the same skinny little kid who walked in 1999. I’ll be the same skinny kid who walked out in 2013.”
Driver joked about being ready for retirement but said he would miss the fans and the atmosphere at Lambeau Field.
“The most thing I’m going to miss is running out that tunnel and 70,000 cheering you on any time you make a catch or a block,” he said. “As far as struggling after football, I won’t struggle. I have so many things I’ve prepared myself for after football. Hosting a show with Kate Couric. It’s going to be a wedding edition. I’m going to play your wedding if you decide to get married. I’m ready for whatever comes next.”
Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt announced the city will change a statue of a wide receiver in the downtown area into a statue of Driver. The street by the statue will become “Donald Driver Way.”
“It’s going to mean the world,” Driver said. “There’s so many things we go through. To be honored with my own street and statue. That’s something special. That’s shows you the love and support. I love you guys. It’s been an awesome, awesome ride. Now, it’s time for the next chapter.”
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune