Entering his fifth year as a pro, Donald Driver is coming off a breakout season in 2002, jumping from top backup to top receiver during training camp, before developing into one of the league's most explosive playmakers.
He led the Packers in receptions (70), receiving yards (1,064) and touchdown receptions (9) -- all three figures representing career highs, higher than his three-year NFL totals entering the 2002 season. In addition to playing in his first Pro Bowl in 2002, Driver was voted the Green Bay Packers' Most Valuable Player by his teammates.
Also a major player in the community, in 2001 Driver and his wife Betina created the Donald Driver Foundation (www.sundaydriver.net), which targets sick children with unmanageable hospital bills and provides housing for the homeless. In recognition of his extensive work in the community, Driver was also honored as the team's Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 2002.
Recently, Packers.com caught up with the 6-foot, 188-pound speedster, discussing these and other issues in our latest round of Random Questions.
Packers.com: What have you done in the offseason and do you have any plans before the season starts?
Donald Driver: "I've been working with my foundation a lot, trying to get all the homes built by Christmas. That, along with spending time with my wife. Our (first) baby is about to be born within the next four weeks so we've been spending a lot of time together."
How did your foundation's golf tournament go Monday?
"It went great. We had a lot of people involved in it and we made a lot of money to help us finish building the homes by Christmas. It turned out pretty good."
Have you seen any good movies lately?
"I don't really call it good, but I saw Charlie's Angels the other day. It was kind of like Matrix, really stupid. But my wife enjoyed it."
What made you fall in love with football?
"My dad. He played football in high school and he was a great quarterback. He left college to go take care of my grandparents, his mom. That's one reason I fell in love with it."
Do you have any other interests or hobbies other than football?
"I like playing basketball, and most of the time just spending time with my wife and enjoying each other."
What are your expectations this season regarding the new Lambeau Field?
"I don't really think that too much is going to change. Our fans have always been the type of people that know the tradition of Lambeau Field. As athletes, the guys that play in this locker room, some of the younger guys aren't going to understand how it feels to walk out there the first game of the season. And I think these guys are going to enjoy it, with the fireworks and the stadium being re-dedicated. These guys are going to play here in the preseason, but it's nothing like the first game of the regular season, getting the season started off at home."
How would you describe the Lambeau experience to the new players?
"I guess like I did with Javon Walker and with Robert Ferguson the first couple of years, I just kind of walked out with them and said, 'Hey, this is the life. Are you guys ready for it?' They both just smiled and after a couple of games, they realized how great the tradition is here."
Where did you grow up and what is the best thing about your hometown?
"I grew up in Houston, Texas. The best thing about it is that it makes you a survivor. I grew up in a neighborhood where not everything comes easy. It makes you go out there and appreciate the things that you have now."
Who's the funniest player on the team?
"It has to be Cletidus Hunt. He's stupid. He's a real funny guy."
Who's the best dressed player on the team?
"I've got to give that one to myself, now that Nate Wayne is gone. It used to be Nate, but it's definitely me now. I don't think that anyone in this locker room can mess with me dressing."
If you weren't in the NFL, what would you be doing?
"I got my degree in accounting and a master's degree in computer science. Most likely I would be working for one of the larger accounting firms, maybe in Houston or New York City."
Is that something you would pursue after football?
"No. Once I retire, I'm going to work fulltime with my foundation. I want to continue putting families in homes and make them realize that this is not just something that I'm doing just for, I guess you could say, the 'limelight.' It's more because it's something that is deep down in my heart."
Do you have any tattoos? How many?
"Yes, I'm not sure if you consider this one or two or how many. I guess three. On my right arm I have a panther and my wife's name. My left arm has a design I came up with that says I'm holding on to what God's given me. Part of my design is a sun or brightness that stands for bright future."
Do you have any superstitions?
Who is the toughest player you've ever matched up against?
"My toughest match-up is always going to be the two guys that I go up against everyday, and I take my hat off to them. That's the "Dread Brothers," Al Harris and Mike McKenzie. I don't think there's anyone in the league that can cover me, but those two guys, I take my hat off to them. They could be the best. If we didn't have them on our team, they would be guys that I would have to watch out for."
So you're glad they're in green and gold?
"Absolutely. I love them to death. One thing about it is that I never want those two guys to go anywhere. This is Al's first year here, but I have played against him over the years and he's a great corner. Mike is a guy that talks a lot of noise while he's out there but he's going to turn the key on 'em. He's going to put 'em in the trunk and lock 'em in. That's one thing that I love about those guys."
What's your favorite food?
"Hamburgers and french fries."
What's your favorite video game?
"Madden 2000, 2003, 2004, whichever one, it doesn't matter."
Do you play as yourself in that game?
"Yes. And I throw it to myself. I take everybody out of the game. Sometimes I change it up and put myself at quarterback, and put Brett Favre at receiver."
How does that work out?
"It doesn't work out too good. He catches one every blue moon."
What's your favorite opposing stadium to play in?
"I would probably have to say Tampa. I just like to play in their stadium because they like to talk noise. But they won't have too much to talk about this year."
Who's your favorite comedian or comedic actor?
"I like Mike Epps from Next Friday."
If you could have dinner with any three people, who would they be?
"My wife, my mom, my dad and I have to add my grandparents."
Instant replay: Get rid of it? Use it more? Just right?
"I'd say keep it as it is. Don't get rid of it."
What type of music do you listen to?
"I like more of the old school R&B, people like Ted Pendergrass, Al Green, Barry White, Luther (Vandross). Not small Luther, big Luther. I'm more of an old school guy, Gladys Knight, Cool and the Gang. I'm not too much into this hardcore rap."
What's the best thing about playing for the Packers?
"The love what the fans give you. There's no other place that you would rather play. I think that all the other guys in the National Football League always talk about how they would like to play at Lambeau Field. I don't know if they just want to run out of the tunnel one time, or if they just want to wear the uniform, but every guy that I've talked to over the years has always said that it's a different atmosphere here. And over the last five years, I have seen it and my goal is to retire here and play in the green and gold for the rest of my career."