I'm not one of those observers who thinks that the drop in production from Donald Driver is due to his advancing age or his "wearing down" in some way. Yes, he missed a game for the first time in forever earlier this season - and his overall numbers when he has been on the field have taken a noticeable dip from his usual steady output.
But watching plays like the incredible touchdown against the 49ers and seeing his ability to still make plays up the sideline and his continued fearlessness over the middle tells me there's still some gas left in the tank.
That said, there is no question Driver is nearing the end of his career, and while he has spent the week telling reporters he doesn't want to make this week about "winning one for Driver" - it is most certainly time for the Packers to win one for Driver.
All the guy has done since coming into the NFL as a 7th round pick is entrench himself as the heart of the Packers franchise. He's gone from being on the bubble (I remember arguing with friends about how Charles Lee would outlast Driver on the roster. Oops.) to being the all-time leading receiver of the most venerable franchise in NFL history. Not bad for a guy who comes from a pretty rough background and who has become a shining example of possessionalism and the elder statesman of the locker room. From the quality work he has done through his foundation to his foray into writing children's books, Driver represents the Green Bay Packers in the best ways possible when away from the team.
The Packers have flirted with the Super Bowl several times during Driver's career, most recently in 2007 when Brett Favre's throw to Driver in overtime was intercepted and all but destroyed the best chance Driver had had up to that point in his career.
When the Packers made the decision to move on from Favre and go with a young, untested Aaron Rodgers, Driver would have not been human if he didn't begin to think that maybe his window to get to the Super Bowl had closed. Of course, the opposite has turned out to be true, with the Packers once again one game away from playing on the biggest stage in the world.
Charles Woodson has gone and lost a Super Bowl and wants nothing more in his life than to play for another championship. Ryan Pickett, Chad Clifton, and Cullen Jenkins are also respected veterans that deserve a shot at a ring.
But no one on the Packers current roster deserves the chance to play for the Lombardi Trophy the way Donald Driver does. The man came into the NFL as a member of the Green Bay Packers and will no doubt remain a Packer for every day of his professional life.
Win it for Donald Driver.
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