Donald Driver decided in late January to retire from football after 14 professional seasons, but the 38-year-old receiver hasn't ruled out a comeback to the Green Bay Packers next season should his former team come calling.
"I think the thing for me is if the Packers call midseason, I’d be in shape," Driver said at his annual charity softball game, via Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "I’ve been staying in shape."
For what it's worth...Driver: "I think the thing for me is if the Packers call midseason, I’d be in shape. I’ve been staying in shape."
— Tyler Dunne (@TyDunne) June 16, 2013
Driver, a former seventh-round pick who holds franchise records for receptions and receiving yards, played 39 games over the last two seasons but caught just 45 passes. He hauled in only eight passes in 2012, his lowest one-year total since his rookie season in 1999.
An impending free agent this spring, Driver decided to retire instead of attempting to play another season in Green Bay or signing a deal elsewhere. The Minnesota Vikings were reported to have preliminary interest, but Driver remained hesitant about playing in a different uniform to end his career.
Injuries would have to hit Green Bay hard next season for Driver to have a legitimate chance of receiving a call from general manager Ted Thompson.
James Jones, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb return to form the team's top three receivers, with Jarrett Boykin, Jeremy Ross and seventh-rounders Charles Johnson and Kevin Dorsey highlighting a crowded group of young options capable of holding down the No. 4 and 5 spots on the depth chart. Overall, the Packers have 12 receivers on their current 90-man roster.
With experience in Mike McCarthy's offense and the Packers locker room, Driver would present a potential answer should a rash of injuries strike midseason.
However, it's worth noting that Boykin played over Driver during a number of occasions to end 2012. He was also inactive for both the regular-season finale and Wild Card matchup with the Minnesota Vikings, before not playing an offensive snap against the San Francisco 49ers in his final NFL game.
In a contract year, Driver was all but phased out of the Packers offensive plans.
While the fan favorite has long said he wanted to play until he was 40 years old, and he remained adamant before retiring that he thought he could still play, it remains unlikely that Driver will play again in Green Bay.
Zach Kruse is a 24-year-old sports writer who contributes to Cheesehead TV, Bleacher Report and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also covers prep sports for the Dunn Co. News. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.