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Quotes from around the NFL on Donald Driver's retirement


"Donald was one of those players that you always had to be aware of as a defense no matter where he was on the field. He put pressure on defensive linemen to get to the quarterback quickly because if you didn't, Donald would find a way to get open. The fact that he is finishing his career as the all-time receptions leader for a historic franchise like Green Bay speaks volumes about him as a player. I congratulate Donald on an amazing career and wish him the best in his retirement."- Vikings DE Jared Allen

"I think when you look at Donald and the accolades and all that he has been able to accomplish on the field, obviously he is a great player, but I think he is an even better man. I think that is the starting point. It starts with the man, the person, and it all starts with that. I think everything he has been able to accomplish in his life, be it business, be it football, be it family, faith, I think it all starts with him as a man and what is in his heart. He did it the right way, he did it the Packer way, and it has been an honor to work with him during his journey."- Packers wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett

"'Drive' has been a blessing to me from the moment I walked through the doors of the Lambeau Field facilities. I will cherish the locker and meeting room memories I was fortunate enough to have with him. I will always value the lessons he taught me on the field in showing me how and what it takes to become a great receiver. But the things he taught me about life, as far as being a father, son, brother, role model, and friend, will carry much more weight in my life both during and after my playing career. I'm thankful that the Lord crossed our paths and I can only hope and pray to have a career that he has had and make a difference in as many lives as he has. I have no doubt that whatever Donald's next venture is, it will be enjoyable for whomever he comes in contact with because of the kind of person he is and that million-dollar smile. Drive, thanks for everything! God Bless, 'The Kid'"- Packers WR Randall Cobb

"Donald was a tremendous player. He overcame great odds to make the team when he first joined us and, as has been well documented, extreme challenges while he was growing up. He was dependable and productive for the Packers. Even though some of the big plays we had together come to mind – on Monday night in Champaign, against the Giants in the playoffs – it really is the way he could make guys miss that stands out to me, like the long touchdown he had just before halftime in Minnesota (in 2006). He also was a big reason we won the division at the Metrodome in '04. I have great memories of playing with Donald. He was a great teammate – he was very likeable in the locker room. That he could go from a seventh-round draft choice to the Packers' all-time leading receiver is a real tribute to him."- Packers QB Brett Favre (1992-2007)

"I want to congratulate 'Drive' on a marvelous career. He is one of the toughest guys I've ever seen. I would like to thank him for always being so kind to me and my family. He is a great guy and I'd like to wish him nothing but the best in anything he does following his football career."- Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald

"He was a great teammate. When I first got here, we hung out a little bit and got to know each other very well. He was a guy that would do anything for the team. I'll always remember the energy he brought to the game, his excitement no matter where he was at during his career. When I got here, he was only in his second year, and he played with the same enthusiasm until the end of his career."- Packers RB Ahman Green (2000-06, 2009)

"Donald is a special person and a good friend. I was privileged to line up on the other side of him each day in practice for many years, and he was a great competitor who always kept me on my toes. What he was able to accomplish in 14 seasons is truly remarkable. He is one of the most dedicated, thoughtful individuals I've ever met and I want to congratulate him on an incredible career."- Chiefs assistant secondary coach Al Harris (Packers CB, 2003-09)

"I think the first time I met Donald Driver was in April 1999. It was my first year scouting and Ron (Wolf) told me to go to Alcorn State, and I had no clue where Alcorn State was. From the immediate start, Donald Driver jumped out. He was enthusiastic, he was eager to go and I was impressed with his workout. I started talking to him more and I found out about some of his situations in life growing up and after that, I said, 'This kid is going to make it somewhere.' I didn't know how or where or what team he'd do it with, but I knew he was going to make it. The person that came to mind that he reminded me of was my former college teammate, Michael Irvin. He reminded me of Michael, not in the football part, but just in the determination and in the will to succeed and to overcome all odds, and I was impressed with him for that. I remember he came over to my car and said, 'Hey, I'm telling you, if you pick me, you won't be sorry.' Then when I came back to Green Bay for the April meetings, I said to Ron, 'I think we need to really look at this kid.' So I put a tape in and the first play, he caught a bomb right off the bat and it caught Ron's attention. So based on what I'd recommended to Ron and what the Packers were looking for in receivers, Ron decided we were going to take a chance and draft this kid in the seventh round. The evolution of where he has come in his career has been fascinating, because I don't think anybody gave him a chance to be a real guy. And 14 years later, he is the all-time leading receiver in the history of the franchise. But I don't look at success in football as statistics alone; the thing I am most proud of Donald Driver for is the man he has become. He is a great father and husband, he has done so much in the community and that's what I'm most proud of. He is somebody I would tell my children to emulate. Donald Driver exemplifies what I always tell my kids, 'I want you to be known as a better person than football player.' It certainly has been one of the highlights of my personnel career, and even though I've been fortunate to be around great players for most of my life, still nothing excites me more than to see guys succeed. And to succeed off the field more than on the field, that is even more impressive, and that's what this guy did. In the end, he won, and I've always said that. When you come in as a seventh-round draft pick and you play 14 years, you won the game, you've defied all odds."- Packers senior personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith

"He was one of the hardest-working players I have ever seen. A lot of guys, when they get to stardom, they tend to relax and not care as much about their craft and getting better. Every year I played with Donald Driver, he was striving to get better every season. He was at every practice. Mike McCarthy would tell him, 'You can go ahead and relax at this practice,' and he would not miss one. As a young guy, watching that truly helped me become a better professional and a better player. He was one of the coolest teammates to be around. He was always full of fun, always wanting to help other people get better on the field no matter what. He was just a leader."- Packers WR James Jones

"Donald Driver is a good man. He exemplifies courage, character and commitment. As this chapter of his life closes, I look forward to what will come with the next one. Congratulations to him, Betina and their kids on a wonderful career."- Packers DE/LB Aaron Kampman (2002-09)

"To me Donald was a quintessential Packer. He had class, he had dignity, he had manners, he cared about people, he helped with a lot of charitable things, and he was just an absolute ballet dancer on the football field. I used to love to watch him tip-toe down the sidelines and catch that ball and tip-toe and fall into the end zone. He had great hands and a great heart. I hate to see him retire, but I know he has to and we all do at some point or another. I'm glad to have him as an alumnus now. I think he'll be a great addition to our alumni group and I think he'll bleed Green and Gold forever."- Packers G Jerry Kramer (1958-68)

"It's funny because when I think of an NFL career, you have a beginning, the way a guy comes into the league, and then the way a guy goes out of the league. Donald, when he came in, a seventh-round pick out of Alcorn State, people thought, 'Who is this guy we drafted?' because he was a triple jumper in college and a high jumper and then he is going out volunteering to play on special teams. But it was between that time that Donald really made his mark. Where he made that mark was in between the numbers; his toughness, his ability to run after the catch and his willingness to always put the team first. He has always been a classy guy, and somebody who when I looked and saw him wearing the No. 80, it made me proud to know that I had worn that same number because of the way he carried himself. It was impressive to always watch. It wasn't really hard for me to watch him break some of my franchise records because I had a chance to break the records of the great Don Hutson. The passing game has evolved and the records and the numbers change a little bit, but watching him wear that No. 80 jersey and watching him accomplish what he did, it made me proud that I had been a Packer and that I had worn that same number."- Packers WR James Lofton (1978-86)

"He was a playmaker. That is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of him on the field, all of the amazing catches he would make, the one-handed catches. He could just make plays. He would be practicing every single day, wouldn't take a day off no matter how many years he had been here. As far as a person and what he meant to this community, it speaks for itself with his foundation and all the things that he does and the way the fans love him. There is a reason why."- Packers WR Jordy Nelson

"Donald Driver's statistical accomplishments speak for themselves.  He will go down in the record books as one of the truly great Green Bay Packer players of all time. It's not the 743 receptions, 61 touchdowns or four Pro Bowls that I will remember most about Donald as a football player. It's the courage, commitment, character and class that he displayed day in and day out. He was a consummate professional, and a pleasure to work with. His impact on the field and in the community was significant and will be missed. I want to congratulate him, his wife Betina and his entire family for being such an important part of the Green Bay Packers family since 1999, and wish him the best of luck in all his future endeavors."- Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin (Packers assistant coach, 2003-11)

"Donald Driver was a true professional in every sense of the word, and it was my privilege to have had the opportunity to work with him. He was an inspiration to me and all those around him. His work ethic on and off the field was a great example to his teammates, particularly in the wide receiver room. Greg Jennings, James Jones and Jordy Nelson benefited greatly from learning how to be a professional by watching Donald each and every day. Donald's accomplishments are many, but he will be missed more for the type of man he is and the huge smile that never leaves his face. Best wishes to Donald and Tina!"- Cowboys senior consultant Jimmy Robinson (Packers wide receivers coach, 2006-10)

"It makes me really happy to know that Donald Driver is retiring as a Packer. Throughout my career, Donald has been an incredible player and teammate whose durability and productivity speak for themselves. He was a huge part of helping me establish myself as a starter in this league and I'll always appreciate his encouragement and support during that time. I'll remember all the great plays he made in our time together, including the long touchdown against San Francisco in 2010 that is still one of the most remarkable plays I've ever seen. He was one of the guys I was most happy for at the end of that season, because he had waited his whole career to get to the Super Bowl and win a ring. But more than any of those things, I'll remember the attitude and professionalism that he carried himself with, especially in his approach to practice every day. I could count on one hand the number of practices he missed in my career, and his enthusiasm for the game always had such a positive impact on the rest of us. Donald was an awesome player, and an even better person who set a great example for giving back to the community. I wish him the best in his next chapter and feel lucky that I got to share part of my career as his teammate."- Packers QB Aaron Rodgers

"I am proud to see my friend – who can play – make the decision to not play, and by doing so not diminish the picture that Green Bay fans have of him. He is and will always be the greatest wide receiver in the history of this great organization we know and love as the Green Bay Packers."- Packers WR Sterling Sharpe (1988-94)

"My first memory of Donald was when he was the seventh-round pick in 1999 and we didn't know who he was. I remember a practice when he was a rookie and I was already a starter and I was covering him in the slot. I wasn't worried about him at all, and so when Brett threw the ball it looked like it was thrown too far and I thought for sure it'd be an incompletion. Out of nowhere, Driver makes this flying, one-handed catch against me. It was incredible. In that training camp he just made play after play after play and you could just tell that with how hard he worked and the skills that he had, he was just special. The thing about Driver is that he was a complete receiver; he was stronger than he looked, a guy that could go across the middle, take some hits and still have enough balance that he would be able to shed defenders and make plays. When I got to Minnesota and he made some plays against us, I could tell that he had matured into a complete, premier receiver for that team and that he was a guy that was going to do that for a long time."- Packers S Darren Sharper (1997-2004)

"Donald Driver had the winning combination of talent and character … plus it didn't hurt that he married a great wife in Betina.  She has kept him humble and on the straight and narrow. As great a player as he was, he was an even better teammate and person. Although I always felt Driver's passion and work ethic made him unique, I do believe it was his consistency that stands out the most to me. Every day he was the same – same smile, enthusiasm, teammate, husband, father, man.  I never – not once – saw him waver from who he was or what he was about."- Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman (Packers head coach, 2000-05)

"Donald is probably pound-for-pound one of the best players I've ever coached, and he's one of the most outstanding men I ever had the privilege to coach. He had all the tools that you want in a guy. I felt that he was one of the smartest players I've had. He could play all the positions. He was one of the toughest guys I've coached. He was explosive and he was so smart. He was a tremendous player and he had a tremendous work ethic. He could run all day. He was not only a great player but also a great family man. Players always ask me about guys I've coached in the past, and Donald is a name that I always bring up because of how he played. He played the game with a lot of heart, a lot of energy. He was going to give you the best, day in and day out, on Sunday or throughout the week. He's a special young man. He played in a couple of Pro Bowls and I was fortunate to coach him to his first one. That was very special because you're talking about a guy that was drafted in the seventh round. That definitely wasn't expected of him, and he just worked hard to become a great player. It was just a privilege to coach him."- Rams wide receivers coach Ray Sherman (Packers wide receivers coach, 2000-04)

"I want to wish Donald a big congratulations on an outstanding career. I am obviously very proud of all his accomplishments and it was an absolute pleasure being teammates with him for as long as I was. I'll always remember that catch he made against Minnesota in 2003, where he ended up in a neck brace but was back just a few weeks later. He made a career out of going across the middle and making all of the tough catches that needed to be made."- Packers T Mark Tauscher (2000-10)

"I've been in Chicago for 10 years and he's been there my whole time in Chicago, so I've had the luxury of playing against him twice a year for 10 years. He has been a pain in our butt because he is that good. I wish him nothing but the best. He has had a hell of a career in Green Bay; he's made a couple of Pro Bowls, he's by far their all-time leading receiver in franchise history and he's got a Super Bowl ring. I'm happy, but at the same time I'm sad because he is such a great guy and every time we played Green Bay, we would talk and have a friendly conversation. He's had a tremendous career and he should be extremely proud of that. I just wish nothing but the best for him and his family."- Bears CB Charles Tillman

"Donald Driver is a player, and a man, that I always respected and enjoyed playing against. Not many of us are privileged to have long and successful careers in the NFL, but Donald has done that. It will be different lining up against Green Bay and not seeing No. 80 out there. I wish him all the best in his retirement."- Vikings CB Antoine Winfield

"He is a very special individual. It is rare in this game of professional football to come across a player whose dedication to the game and to the Green Bay Packers was always first and foremost in his individual makeup. I know that I receive the credit for his being with the Packers, but the person who deserves it is Alonzo Highsmith. He was so high on Donald and kept bringing his name up each and every round of the draft that year. Donald was a rare player. When you think of all the great receivers that have played for the Packers, those magical names like Hutson, Lofton, Sharpe, and Howton, there is only one who is the all-time leader in receptions and he is a seventh-round draft choice from Alcorn State University. That speaks volumes for his approach to this, the greatest game in American sports. He was a tough, hard-nosed individual who would go anywhere on the field in order to catch the football. He had the desire to excel, the ability to make it happen and the want to, to get it done. I personally am very proud of what Donald Driver has accomplished. He is a beacon for all those who want to because he did. Congratulations on a great career, Mr. Driver. I wish I would be present to say this to you personally: You are what the Packers are all about! All the best in the years ahead, No. 80, you did it."- Ron Wolf, Packers general manager, 1992-2000

"A few things come to mind when I think about Donald. The first is the way he grew up and the hardships he had to endure early on in his life. Second is that he is one of the toughest competitors I have ever been around. And the third is how much the Green Bay community meant to him and how much he meant to Green Bay. With that said, I'll sum Donald up in three words: warrior, champion, friend!- Packers DB Charles Woodson

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