On the eve of the Green Bay Packers' June mini-camp, wide receiver Donald Driver sat down for an exclusive interview via Packers Cam on NFL Network with NFL Total Access host Rich Eisen.
During the interview, Driver discussed what it's like to play with quarterback Brett Favre, including the emotions of last season's Monday night game against the Oakland Raiders.
He also discussed the Donald Driver Foundation, which, among other charitable pursuits, looks to raise money to benefit the homeless.
The following is a complete transcript of Eisen's interview with Driver.
Rich Eisen: Right now to help put in to his words what Brett Favre means to the Packers and what kind of player he is, we fire up Packers Cam for one of his prime targets, and that would be Donald Driver joining us on Packers Cam. How are you doing Donald?
Donald Driver: I'm good, how about yourself?
RE: I'm doing very well thanks, but I don't have an organized team activity to get to this week. How are things for you out there in Green Bay?
DD: It's good right now. You know, it's not cold so that's the good thing about it.
RE: There you go, there you go. It's nice and warm for your mini-camp. Let's talk about Brett Favre a little bit before we get to what's going on with the Packers, Donald. What's it like getting into the huddle with Brett Favre?
DD: You know, I mean words can't even explain sometimes. When you are in the huddle with Brett, he's funny, he's that character. He keeps things live. And he keeps guys, all the nervousness that you have in your body, it's out, because he gets that fear out of you already.
RE: Just because he's loose when you get in there, then you yourself actually loosen up as a player, is what you're saying?
DD: Right, I mean I have talked to him right before a game. He always tells me...I always ask him a simple question, are you nervous? And he says, yeah, once I throw this first pass it'll be out of the way. So I always tell him, well throw the first pass to me so we can get it out of the way early.
RE: You can both work out your nerves together in that respect.
DD: Right. Because you know you are always nervous until you catch that first pass and get that first hit. And after that, everything is smooth sailing.
RE: What's your favorite Favre story? Do you have one?
DD: My favorite one, there are so many, you know there are so many things he tells you. But, just the history of his life is probably the best story he could sit down and tell a young guy, like myself, was the things he went through in life to be the greatest quarterback now in history.
RE: Well what was it like participating in that Monday night game last year when he found out about his father's death, on the weekend before it, and actually decided to play. Can you walk us through that weekend?
DD: You know that was one of the most inspirational games of my career. And I remember that day like it was yesterday. You know I got a phone call from one of my friends from Mississippi and they told me that Brett's dad had passed away. And, you know, I thought it was a joke, a guy was playing a joke with me. But I tried to get in touch with Brett on his cell phone, and he didn't answer. I ended up about an hour later, I left out of the room, I asked the trainers where Brett was, and they told me he was down in his room. And I met him in his room and we hugged each other for a while. You know I walked in, and I told him, I said, 'you know I understand, but I don't understand.' You know, because I never lost a father before. I've lost cousins and friends before, but never lost a father. And when you lose a father, that's something that hurts more than anything. But for him to get the opportunity to come out and say, hey, I want to play this game, this is what his dad would want him to do. And that's the words he kept expressing to me the whole night, as well as Doug Pederson and the other guys that were in that room, is that his dad wanted him to play this game. And we knew that that's what his dad wanted. We went out and played the game not just for Brett but for his dad too.
RE: And the entire country was watching that night, Donald. It was a very special moment for everybody to be able share in his moment, as well as share in his grief in a way. Do you find that sort of connection between Brett Favre and the fans? Do you see that on a daily basis out there in Green Bay?
DD: Oh, I mean, I think that's the biggest thing our fans do. They love ... anything that happens with the Packers, their hearts are into it. And that's one thing that I've always said. You see day in and day out, with the Green Bay Packers fans, is that if anything happens to anyone -- family, friends, or whatever it may be, or this organization -- they seem to come together as one.
RE: Not a bad spot for a seventh-round pick out of Alcorn State to wind up, being in the huddle with Brett Favre. Were you thinking about that when you were drafted back in '99?
DD: Oh, yeah, I remember when I caught my first pass from him. Even though it was just during practice, I remember catching the ball, and running up to him and giving him the ball back. He just busted out laughing the whole time saying, 'Hey, there are going to be plenty more of those.' And I was like, 'Well I'm just happy that this is the one I get to catch today.'
RE: So how has your game improved in a way, Donald? How have you found your career so far just a few years into the league?
DD: You know I felt like it's great, I still have a lot of goals to accomplish. You know, my biggest thing is that I always said I wanted to make the Pro Bowl, and I ended up getting that two years ago. And now my biggest thing, now I want a Super Bowl ring. And not just one, but I want a couple. I don't know how long my bud (Favre) is going to play around here, but I'm hoping that he gets to play a couple more years where I can win at least two or three rings before I retire.
RE: Seventy catches your Pro Bowl season, just fifty-two last year. To what would you attribute the drop-off in number of receptions?
DD: I mean, you know last year Ahman (Green) ran the ball well. You know, we can't take anything from him. We spread the ball around pretty well last year. And for me to come off a neck injury was pretty hard. The fear that was in my eyes, as well as in Brett's eyes, is that hey, I can't get this guy set up again, because that hit may end his career. We took focus in that. We spread the ball around a little bit more. But now I'm healthy, and I'm ready to play this game. I'm ready to go back to the Pro Bowl as well as win a Super Bowl title.
RE: How's the Donald Driver foundation doing? We heard you had two, not one, but two celebrity golf tournaments. You've got a lot of celebs, Donald.
DD: You know, I have a lot of friends out there. Right now it's going great. We have a football camp for inner city youth and we also invite some kids that cannot afford the camp to come out and be a part of this event. We have one here in Green Bay that's going on June 16th through the 18th, as well as a celebrity golf tournament on the 19th. Then we turn around and leave on the 20th and head to Houston for a big event down there as well. That will go on for a full week with a football camp as well as a golf tournament, and it's doing well. Our thing is that we want to stop the homeless issue in America. It only starts with the people around us, and that's family and friends. And I think if we get everyone behind 110 percent, we can stop the issue. We're not going to do it overnight, but I think in a couple of years we can stop the homeless issue in America.
RE: Drop some names on me, Donald, who's going to be there? Be a name-dropper.
DD: Oh I'm going to tell you: Bobby Taylor, Brett Favre, Nate Wayne, Rob Davis, Clyde Drexler, Spud Webb, Flozelle Adams, Ralph Hunter, I mean, we have a bunch of guys. Joe Horn, Peerless Price, I mean, it's going to be a great event. So, you know, we're just going to have a great time out there and raise some money for the homeless issue.
RE: Where's (Steve) McNair? I mean where's McNair for his Alcorn State man?
DD: Oh, you know something, I never say Steve's name because he always shows up. ... Some of these guys that I've named, you know those guys I have to really push, and twist their arm to get them there and I think they will be there.
RE: Okay because you know the power of Packer's cam can probably provide you with a few good names. I mean, just go out and name them right now.
DD: Well you know, hey, if I can get them all there, Keenan McCardell, I would love to have him, he's from Houston.
RE: So would the Bucs!
DD: You are right about that one. You know we want to try and get a bunch of guys there. So if anyone wants to be a part of this event, they should feel free to check out the website at www.sundaydriver.net, and feel free to log on that you want to be a part of this event, and we'll get you in as soon as possible.
RE: All right, Donald, thanks for joining us here on Packers Cam, and good luck to you along the way. And we look forward to having you back.
DD: Thank you.
RE: Donald Driver the Packers wide receiver joining us on Packers Cam.
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