Cory's Corner: There's only one Donald Driver

Donald Driver’s story is incredible.

It’s “Rocky” meets “Rudy.”

He wasn’t supposed to end up wearing green and gold because he slept in U-Haul trucks and even on the streets because his father spent time in prison and his mother had a difficult time supporting her five children.

But his obstacles didn’t stop there. After averaging over 19 yards per catch at Alcorn State, he was drafted by the Packers in the seventh round. Mark Tauscher was a solid seventh round draft pick that played 11 seasons for the Packers but Driver has him lapped in raw athletic ability. And that’s why he was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame.

And he matriculated those obstacles into being the Packers’ career leader in receiving yards, which is pretty heady company. That’s better than James Lofton, Sterling Sharpe and Don Hutson. The only person that could realistically break Driver’s reign at the top is Jordy Nelson, but he would need three more solid years and at 32 nothing is guaranteed.

The reason Driver was liked was the same reason Brett Favre was liked. He approached the game with a simple smile and it’s that smile that won over countless people after his playing career was over.

Driver averaged 724 yards a season and that was after he only put up 520 yards in his first three seasons after limited action.

Everybody loves an underdog and Driver was the underdog’s underdog. His sticky hands and staccato cuts helped him keep a job that nobody thought he was good enough to win in the first place.

With the Packers training camp starting on Thursday, we look for the next unsung hero. Early reports are that it will be Malachi Dupre because of what he has shown in offseason workouts thus far.

But even if Dupre surprises, it’s likely that his career will last but a heartbeat compared to what Driver was able to accomplish in 14 years. Driver led the Packers in receiving as a 32-year-old in his ninth season and only had four seasons with a catch rate under 60 percent.

Driver was the unlikeliest of anomalies. There will be others that will raise eyebrows and prove that he was drafted way too low.

But there will only be one Driver, because no matter how hard he got hit, no matter what the scoreboard said; he still found time to smile.

Why? Perspective — he lived through much worse. 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (5)

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Spock's picture

July 25, 2017 at 08:41 am

The old Milwaukee Journal used to pick one rookie at training camp and have him do a 'daily journal'. They chose DD his rookie year and I became a huge fan reading his descriptions. I was just rooting for him to make the team, never expected his amazing career! I always enjoy seeing his (still) million watt smile!

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Bedrock's picture

July 25, 2017 at 09:48 am

"His sticky hands and staccato cuts..."...awesome!

However, no need to dig on Tauscher. I do not agree at all that Driver has more raw ability. Driver's was more noticeable due to his position. Tausch was doing a lot more grunt work, but he was no less athletic.

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TheVOR's picture

July 25, 2017 at 02:21 pm

There's only one Donald Driver, and his name is Geronimo Allison.... OK, maybe not yet, but man does Allison remind me of Driver. Loved Driver, GREAT -
GREEN BAY PACKER!

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 25, 2017 at 05:03 pm

I don't think Allison is a good person. You should read Allison's misogynistic tweets before comparing him to anyone. Everything I've ever read about Driver was very positive about him personally.

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cheesydan's picture

July 26, 2017 at 04:35 pm

Very perceptive comment from the relativity unknown Cheddar Melt blog

“In an age where it’s hard to believe in legends, there is something about Donald Driver that deflects cynicism. He can say things that would sound saccharine and ridiculous coming from anyone else, and yet they come out of his mouth completely believable and honest. Part of it is that we know him: even the most practiced liar would have slipped up once in 13 years, and he never did.”

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