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 firstname.lastname@example.org.