Wide receiver Donald Driver's first-ever game at Lambeau Field was in 1999 against the Detroit Lions, and that will be the opposition once again on Sunday as he looks to become the Packers' all-time leader in receptions.
Driver tied wide receiver Sterling Sharpe's (1988-94) mark of 595 career receptions in Week 4 at Minnesota with a 10-yard reception late in the fourth quarter, so his first catch on Sunday against the Lions will give him the top spot all to himself.
"I guess it will be shocking," Driver said. "Last week I got a call from Sterling just saying, "You deserve it.' I told him that to be mentioned in the same breath as him and James Lofton and all of the great guys that played before me, it's an honor. He said, 'You deserve it. It's nothing that has been given to you. Go out and do what you do.'
"That's one thing you say you would never imagine. I would have never predicted it, in a million years. If someone would have said, 'Donald, a seventh-round draft pick, you're going to make the team, you're going to be the all-time leading receiver for the Packers.' You would have never thought that would happen, but to be this close to it, it means a lot. I think when it is all said and done and the record is broken, I'll be happy to put my name on top of Sterling's for once in a lifetime. Not on everything, but at least I can say I got him on that one."
Driver entered this season with 577 receptions, and although he said he thought he might have broken the record earlier, the fact that it could happen at Lambeau Field makes the achievement more special.
"Once I started getting closer and closer to the record, I think that's when I got excited," Driver said. "You kind of think when you come into the season that you only need 19 (catches), you think, OK, by Week 2 I should have 19 catches, or Week 3. It doesn't work that way.
"It's Week 6 for us and it's going to happen at home in front of our home crowd. So 70,000 people will be cheering me on, and that's more exciting than anything else."
The all-time reception mark will add to an already impressive resume from the 11-year veteran out of Alcorn State. Driver holds the franchise record with a catch in 115 straight games (120 including playoffs) and is the all-time leader for receptions (283) and receiving yards (3,961) at Lambeau Field. He ranks second in receiving yardage with 8,277 yards, trailing only James Lofton's 9,656.
When asked to list some of the most memorable catches of his career, Driver referenced two, the first being the first catch of his career, an 8-yard touchdown reception vs. Carolina (Dec. 12, 1999) and one from just a few weeks ago.
Driver called his spectacular grab at St. Louis in Week 3 his favorite, a 46-yard reception made with his left hand despite being interfered with by Rams cornerback Bradley Fletcher. Driver pinned the ball against his helmet and shoulder pad as he fell to the turf.
"That's the one I'll probably never forget," Driver said. "I still don't know how I caught it, so I'll take that one."
Although there is little doubt that the record will mean a lot to Driver, his main focus will be on getting a victory against a division foe.
"I don't want to make a big deal out of it because my biggest thing is that we have to win the game," Driver said. "I think a lot of people are going on saying, 'Well, this is a big record-breaker.' Once it happens, it happens. You move on and be happy about it.
"Maybe after the game (I'll be emotional), not during the game. You don't want to be on the first play of the game crying. I don't think you want to do that. I think when I get home it will probably hit me then."
Two members of the Packers' 2009 draft class are expected to make their regular-season debuts on Sunday.
Fullback Korey Hall sustained a calf strain during Monday's practice, and McCarthy said he is expected to be out a "couple of weeks." That will create an opportunity for rookie fullback Quinn Johnson to be active for the first time as a pro.
"I think Quinn is definitely getting better," McCarthy said. "He does a good job with the opponent stuff for our defense. He spends a lot of extra time with Edgar Bennett, working on the fundamentals and technical things that we ask him to do here at the fullback position.
"I like what I see so far. It will be a good opportunity for him to play on Sunday."
With cornerback Will Blackmon going on season-ending injured reserve on Monday due to a torn ACL suffered at Minnesota, rookie Brandon Underwood will be in uniform as well for the first time.
Underwood will likely see time on special teams and serve as the fourth cornerback behind Charles Woodson, Al Harris and Tramon Williams. McCarthy added that Jarrett Bush, who played strong safety in the second half against the Vikings in Week 4, is also getting work at cornerback.
After working inside The Don Hutson Center on Wednesday during the individual portion of practice, the team headed outside to Ray Nitschke Field for the team periods.
"Just the opportunity to let the field dry a little more," McCarthy said. "There was a cell out there, a rain cell we were watching during the course of the morning. That's why we waited to go out."
McCarthy added that the Packers will practice outside as much as they can the remainder of the week.
Linebacker Brady Poppinga (illness) and running back DeShawn Wynn (knee) did not participate on Wednesday. It was the second straight practice Poppinga has missed, but McCarthy said the illness is not believed to be serious.
Tackle Chad Clifton (ankle), defensive end Cullen Jenkins (ankle), nose tackle Ryan Pickett (hip) and tackle Mark Tauscher (knee) were all limited in practice on Wednesday.
McCarthy said the plan for Clifton will be to work Wednesday and Thursday and then see where he is at.
"How much he will do on Friday is left to be seen, but if he can go through the full body of work that we have laid out for him, definitely feel that he'll be ready to go on Sunday," McCarthy said.
If Clifton were unable to play against Detroit, the Packers could go in a couple of directions at left tackle. One would be to use the line they have started the last two games with Daryn Colledge at left tackle, Jason Spitz at left guard and Scott Wells at center. The other option would be to insert T.J. Lang at left tackle and leave Colledge at left guard and Spitz at center.
Lang played left tackle against the Vikings for most of the fourth quarter when Colledge left the game with a knee injury.
Colledge, safety Atari Bigby (knee), running back Brandon Jackson (ankle) and linebacker Jeremy Thompson (knee) were all full participants on Wednesday.
It was the first time Bigby practiced fully since sustaining the injury in the season opener vs. Chicago.
"Atari Bigby's body of work this week will be a big part of that decision," McCarthy said. "So far he has had two very good days as far as his rehab Monday and Tuesday and today. We'll see how he feels (Thursday), but if he can go through the full body of work he'll definitely have the opportunity to play on Sunday."
Detroit's injury report featured 14 different players, including rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford (knee), who was limited, and wide receiver Calvin Johnson (thigh), who did not participate.
Fullback Jerome Felton (shoulder), tight end Casey FitzSimmons (thigh), defensive tackle Sammie Hill (ankle), defensive end Jason Hunter (ankle), running back Maurice Morris (hip), safety Ko Simpson (hamstring) and defensive end Dewayne White (hamstring) did not participate.
Linebacker Jordon Dizon (foot), defensive tackle Grady Jackson (knee) and linebacker Ernie Sims (shoulder) were limited.
Tackle Gosder Cherilus (shoulder) and tight end Brandon Pettigrew (hamstring) were both full participants.