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Point of Veau: Packers Should Add Driver to Ring of Honor Posthaste

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Point of Veau: Packers Should Add Driver to Ring of Honor Posthaste

Packers wide receiver Donald Driver. Photo by Corey Behnke of Cheesehead TV.

Back in 2006, the Green Bay Packers broke tradition and included former general manager Ron Wolf into the team's "Ring of Honor."

A distinction previously reserved only for members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Packers rightly included Wolf's name on the facade of Lambeau Field among the other Titletown legends.

Today, on the occasion of Donald Driver's public retirement announcement, the time has come, once again, to go against the grain and recognize a player who's earned the status of legend.

Driver is not a first-ballot NFL Hall of Famer. In fact, he may not be a Hall of Famer at all.

Perhaps, some day, generations from now Driver will be a senior committee nominee, not unlike Lombardi-era linebacker Dave Robinson was just this past weekend when it was learned he'll be inducted in Canton, Ohio.

Except, the Packers can't wait four decades from now to commemorate Driver.

The city of Green Bay has done its part. Mayor Jim Schmitt announced at Driver's ceremony on Wednesday at Lambeau Field that the iconic "Receiver" statue outside the Titletown Brewing Company that was once the property of the Packers Hall of Fame will be refurbished to include Driver's name and number and presumably, skin tone.

Schmitt also said a city street would be renamed "Donald Driver Way" with exact details still to become unveiled.

Now it's the Packers' turn. It's only appropriate to celebrate Driver's career in the next season or two by putting his name up inside the stadium.

They'll have several factors to consider and juggle when coming up with a date. At some point in the future the Packers will also likely be retiring Brett Favre's number, perhaps a process expedited by recent comments from current Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Maybe the Packers can think outside-the-box and go so far as jointly retiring the No. 80 of both Driver and James Lofton, although that's probably an unlikely scenario.

Possibly a statue outside the stadium would be apropos as well. Not necessarily one the size of Vince Lombardi and Curly Lambeau out on the Bob Harlan Plaza, but a life-size bronze statue outside one of the other gates would sure look nice.

The Packers ccould take the cue of the Milwaukee Brewers whose statues of Hank Aaron, Bob Uecker and Bud Selig are perfect additions to the Miller Park landscape. Whatever the course of action, that's up to the Packers.

The important part is the team honor Driver who is as deserving as they come. At the very least, an exception can and should be made for his inclusion into the renowned Ring of Honor.

Brian Carriveau is the author of "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (43) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Evan's picture

"Schmitt also said a city street would be renamed “Donald Driver Way” with exact details still to become unveiled."

I thought they said it was the street in front of Titletown Brewing - Dousman Street.

Brent Weycker's picture

Titletown is bordered on the west side completely by N. Pearl Street. Its part of the new development next to us in the Larsen Green. Our old entrance was on Dousman St. and now its Pearl St. Our address is still 200 Dousman.

PackerBacker's picture

Absolutely disagree. To put him on the ring of honor without his being inducted into the HOF would completely diminish the other names on the ring.
The Ring is only meant for those whose accomplishments have been awarded with the HOF.
Wolf got in because GM's are almost never inducted. DD was a player, he should be judged in the same way as any other player.

Tim's picture

I totally agree with your absolutely disagreement.

Jer's picture

I agree with your agreement of his absolute disagreement.

D.D. Driver's picture

There is a Packer Hall of Fame. That is where Driver belongs. If he gets a PFHOF nod, then absolutely put him in the Ring of Honor.

Retiring his jersey is out of the question.

In fact, I don't think Favre's on field earned him the right to have his number retired.

The Packers should not retire a jersey unless the player in question is at least in the conversation for the GOAT at his position. Favre doesn't make that cut.

Franklin Hillside's picture

You don't think what Favre did on the field entitles him to have his number retired?!

Wow. You have a short, short memory then.

Evan's picture

Seriously. Hate the guy all you want, but to deny his on-the-field accomplishments is delusional.

Oppy's picture

Ummmm. It's actually the Packers POLICY to not retire numbers at this point and time, until further notice,
which may be never again.

It's due to the large volume of numbers that have already been retired, a glut of them coming out of the Lombardi era.

Basically, the Packers have spent themselves broke in the "Retired Numbers" arena.

Oh, and did I mention, I'm completely wrong about all of this.

PackerNation's picture

Favre's on-field accomplishments merit his induction into the HOF, and the Packer HOF. But the retired number thing? No.

Starr and Nitschke brought FIVE titles to Green Bay.

Hutson revolutionized the position, is considered the first modern WR, and invented many of the routes used today. Even Ron Wolf has referred to him as the greatest player the game has known. After his playing days, he worked in several capacities in the front office.

Likewise, Tony Canadeo had a long and illustrious career and continued to be involved with the Packers after his retirement.

And of course, NONE of these guys ever trashed the organization or the GM. None of them actively conspired to play for a division arch-rival. None of them said "A year in Minnesota is worth 10 in Green Bay".

Favre had a long and prolific career and will rightly be inducted into the HOF and Packer HOF. But the organization's highest honor should not go to someone who behaved so dishonorably towards the organization.

Chris Davis's picture

Favre "does'nt make the cut"? You must be kidding! Best QB we ever have had. Just because we got lucky with AR people start "deluding" themselves! Hall of Fame in first Ballot....Period!

Franklin Hillside's picture

Well, this isn't right either.

1) Starr.

Favre and Rodgers are battling it out for #2. Rodgers likely takes over in the end, and he may take over #1 when it's all said and done.

D.D. Driver's picture

I'm not denying his on the field accomplishments, I'm saying they don't rise to the level of having your number retired for the Packers.

The Packers have 27 PFHOF players. Twenty-freaking-seven. And 5. Five. Retired numbers. Greatness is not enough. Historically, you needed to be (at least arguably) the best ever at your position to get your number retired. I don't think Favre meets that standard.

I'm not saying he wasn't a great player. I'm saying he was not great enough. Maybe for other teams. Not for the Packers.

Denver's picture

Packer Hall of Fame? - absolutely
Ring of Honor? - that's a tough one
Statue? - not in favor

I loved DD as a Packer and person as much as anyone, but as good as the team was while he was a member they still only won one ring.
And that'll always be the #1 criteria for me when putting #'s and names on the facade when the player isn't in the PFHOF.

Evan's picture

I don't think I buy the Super Bowl qualification. It's hard to fault one guy -- especially a WR - for a team's lack of championships. I mean, if the Packers had won this year with negligible contributions from Driver all season, would have that boosted his case? I just don't see it.

I don't have strong feelings one way or the other on Driver going in the ring of honor, but I think all players should be evaluated on their own merits - not the success of the team as a whole. Driver, as the Packer's all-time leading receiver, makes a strong case for inclusion among the all-time Packers greats.

Denver's picture

I hear you, Evan, but I just feel the Packers have and should continue to have higher standards. Just my 2 cents....
I'll leave lower standards to teams like the Vikings :)

Evan's picture

Ha. Fair enough.

Like I said, I could go either way. I think "the Ring of Honor is reserved for Hall of Famers" is reason enough to keep him out.

(As for the Ron Wolf exception - he'll get in eventually, right?)

Steevo36's picture

I believe DD should be in the ring of honor and would support his jersey being retired. There's so much more to Driver than numbers. If stats dictated everything, then football would be a sad sport. Driver is the perfect example of toughness and overcoming adversity that i can think of. Obviously I'm biased but i think he gave everything to GB and the team should do likewise.

CSS's picture

Driver will always be one of the most endearing players to most fans, but the franchise has only retired 5 numbers in 90 years of existence. You still have the likes of Jim Taylor, Forrest Gregg, Paul Hornung (there are many, many more) that did not have their numbers retired.

I'm actually on the opposite end of the argument with retiring numbers. What better way to honor a great person/players legacy than to have coaches, team leaders or veterans do something like give the #80 to a hard working, talented receiver that just makes the roster or shows developmental aptitude on the practice squad. That, to me, is more of a nod to the players legacy than to see the jersey collecting dust.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Yep. Break that # out for a standout, as a reward... That could become a great tradition, and give young guys something to shoot for.

cow42's picture

this is silly.

ring of honor, retired #, and statue for a GREAT guy who was never even his own team's #1 receiver?

stop.

just stop.

i love him.
only Packer jersey i've ever owned.
my kids cried when they found out he was retiring... and they're not even old enough to remember when he was actually good.

but, come on!

Point Packer's picture

I don't care what anyone says and yes, this is totally based on emotion, but I would love to walk into Lambeau and see "Donald Driver" on the Ring of Honor.

DD was a great Packer both on and off the field. In this day and age of greedy self interested athletes, those who were incredibly productive on the field and showed exceptional character off the field should be honored. Donald falls into both of those categories.

I don't think it waters down the ROH and if anything, its shows others that how they are judged off the field is part of how they will be remembered when they hang up the laces. I just don't see harm in that.

Convince me otherwise.

cow42's picture

Driver was a very good player.
Never elite.

As soon as you start honoring "very good" players (even ones who were really great guys) things get "cheapened".

Rocky70's picture

Unfortunately, cow is correct. DD is a great Packer but far from a ring of honor type player. ---- However, why does it even matter?

MarkinMadison's picture

OK, I've seen conflicting info regarding how many Packers are on the ROH. But we all agree that there is no one (other than Ron Wolf) who is on the ROH who is not in the hall. Would it cheapen it to add DD? I don't think so, but if his honor is for more than just his on-the-field then who else should be let in? And should he be given a few years off the field to make some greater contributions to the community? Maybe so. There are six guys whose numbers are retired, so I think that is out of the question. There are two statues in front of Lambeau - Vince and Curly. So unless they are going to start making statues of others I think that is out. What WOULD be perfectly appropriate is some more significant coverage in the Packers Hall of Fame - similar to LeRoy's area commemorating his Jump In the Stands. It would be fitting, appropriate, and significant.

Evan's picture

"but if his honor is for more than just his on-the-field then who else should be let in?"

KGB comes to mind.

Point Packer's picture

God, I hope you are kidding. Please, please tell me that was sarcasm. Please.

Evan's picture

Ha. Not at all. I mean, I don't think KGB should be in the ROH, but he's the all-time Packer sack leader who did/does a lot of good in the Green Bay community. Is there some scandal I'm not aware of?

To me, Driver's biggest selling point is his longevity.

tundravision's picture

Look, Driver has a shot to make the NFL HOF. No, its not a shoo-in or even anything I'd put money on, but this is an emotional time. Packer fans seem very eager to bronze something very current, which is unusual when you compare it to the long, successful history of the team.

Driver's legacy will ferment over time. Maybe he'll earn his way into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and earn that spot like everyone else on that ring. If not, there will be a special section dedicated to him in the Packer Hall of Fame.

If you want to actually make a difference, start petitioning the HOF nomination committee now. Guys in the 2018 class look to be Ray Lewis, maybe Randy Moss. Driver may also get a bit of a bump for the guy who threw him many of his passes a year or two early.

tundravision's picture

By the way, you'd retire #80 for Driver, who is a long shot to make the Hall of Fame, but not James Lofton, who actually is IN the Hall of Fame and is ON the Ring of Honor?

You do know that there are several unofficial retired numbers. #1 has never been worn by any player other than Curly Lambeau. #2 was also "retired" for many years for Charlie Mathys, the first quarterback to beat the Bears. Mason Crosby is the only other player in Packer history to wear the number. And other than a few journeyman players in the 80's, Paul Hornung's #5 is also considered off-limits to new recruits.

Evan's picture

Curly Lambeau and Paul Hornung seem like two guys who should have their numbers retired officially. I mean, if Lambeau's is already "unofficially" retired, why not just make it official. Though I guess naming the stadium after him might be honor enough.

Evan's picture

Also, who is arguing to retire #80?

markinmontana's picture

I don't support adding Driver to ROH without his inclusion in the PFHOF, and definitely not as a knee-jerk, "post-haste" measure. Do we in turn add other good player/good guys like LeRoy Butler, Gilbert Brown and Paul Coffman by default?

Point Packer's picture

Gilbert Brown was above average for like two years. The rest of his time in GB he was fat and injured.

Walty's picture

Statue outside of Lambeau - Definitely.

Ring of Honor - I would like to see it, but wouldn't be happy with it unless he actually makes the NFL HOF.

Retiring # - I've never been a big fan of retiring numbers in the first place. Imagine that the NFL continues on for another 100 years (or longer). Some teams are going to start running into problems.

Evan's picture

Jeez, a statue? Lambeau, Lombardi...Driver?

"One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn't belong"

Point Packer's picture

Few Packers have been so beloved by the community of Green Bay as Donald Driver. Really, very few. I can't name another in the modern era. Bert fell into that category for awhile. DD's connection to GB is what makes him a special case. I believe he will be and will be happy when his name is on the Green Bay Packer Ring of Honor.

It will not diminish the honor in one bit. That's total BS.

And further, KGB may be the most over-rated Packers in the modern era, on the field. A guy who made eight good plays a year and the rest of the time made tackles after getting driven ten yards down field. Poster child of Sherman era mediocrity.

Lou's picture

Using your logic there would be 150 Dallas Cowboys in their Ring Of Honor, Hall of Fame only is the only way to be eligible for the Packers Ring of Honor. In regards to retired numbers, the man who has his name on the NFL Champion's Trophy said no one will ever wear #5 in Green Bay gain, I would say that means its officially retired. The Packers need to confirm that and retire Hornung's number before Favre's #4 (like him or not he has earned that honor). Driver has earned everything to date, nothing was given to him, he has not earned a place in the Ring of Honor however.

Sam's picture

A lot of people on here throughout the season lamented the lack of use of the slant in the present GB offense. Remember back in the Favre era when DD pretty much made his name running across the middle of the field with no regard for himself, back when "hitting" was really allowed. Driver in my opinion is a late 80's to mid 90's sure fire HOFer. WR stats have been so inflated by the new rules that guys like Hines Ward and DD will be passed over. Maybe not right away but someday I would like to see DD in the ROH despite not being a HOFer. I don't think it cheapens the ROH to do so.

bryce's picture

I'd like to see him in the ring...because of a combination of performance, character and his background story.

sam's picture

Plus his million dollar smile, I will miss that the most, DD enjoyed and cherished every second in green and gold a true Packer through and through. Should have named my dog Driver insetead of Jennings...

dawg's picture

Favre will go into the HOF, BUT he dose not belong in the ring of Lambeau!
THATS reserved for GREAT PACKERS!!
I'd rather see #80 before #4 in Lambeau RING!
#80 Statue! hell yes!

PackerNation's picture

If Driver, why not the franchise's all-time leading rusher, Ahman Green? Why not LeRoy Butler? Why not Jerry Kramer? Why not Lynn Dickey?

Honors are honors because there are standards. If they started giving the Medal of Honor to everybody it would only cheapen the honor.

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