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Super Bowl XLV: Driver makes it to NFL's largest stage

Feb. 5, 2013
 
ES_Super Bowl XLV_2.6.11
Packers receiver Donald Driver carries the Lombardi Trophy after the Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on Feb. 6, 2011, at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. / Gannett Wisconsin Media

Editor's note: This story was originally published Feb. 4, 2011.

DALLAS — A Super Bowl is big enough to make a grown man cry.

After 12 seasons of trying, Green Bay Packers receiver Donald Driver has finally made it to the NFL’s largest stage.

It’s been the culmination of a lifelong dream for Driver, so no one was surprised when he became emotional following the Packers’ victory over the Chicago Bears in the NFC championship game that gave them a berth in Sunday’s Super Bowl against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

When you’ve sacrificed your body for as long as Driver has in the rough-and-tumble NFL, who can blame him for getting a little choked up?

“After the championship game, emotions got the best of him, as they should,” receiver Greg Jennings said. “I mean, it’s been a long time for him.”

Driver, who celebrated his 36th birthday Wednesday, has been around long enough to become the Packers’ all-time leading pass catcher, but what he really wants is a Super Bowl championship ring. And his teammates want badly to see him achieve that goal.

“We go out there and we put it on the line for that guy because we know how much it means to him,” receiver James Jones said.

Jennings calls Driver one of the most underrated and under-appreciated receivers in the NFL. What he admires about him is his work ethic, leadership skills and team-first attitude.

“You can’t replace a guy like that,” Jennings said.

Driver has his teammates’ backs, whether it’s an up-and-coming receiver threatening his job or a young quarterback.

“He’s just a great person on and off the field and he’ll do whatever he can to help you,” receiver Jordy Nelson said. “He’s not trying to bully you and he’s not thinking like, ‘Oh, this guy might take my spot in the future.’ It’s all about the team with him.”

Driver was on the receiving end of Brett Favre’s passes for nine seasons. But when the Packers changed starters in 2008, Driver didn’t hesitate to support Aaron Rodgers.

“All you can ask from a veteran player is just get in your corner,” Rodgers said. “And Donald has gotten in my corner since I’ve been here. Since I became the starter, he’s been very supportive.”

Driver’s willingness to work has left an impression.

What you see is what you get with Driver.

“I don’t go behind closed doors and change who I am,” he said. “I love to have fun and I love to interact with the fans and the media. You have to embrace it because when it is all said and done, you don’t want people to say that he was a jerk. You want them to say that he was a good guy. To me that is what I stand for.”

Driver has a vision of standing in Cowboys Stadium on Sunday night with the Lombardi Trophy hoisted above his head.

“I think that’s when it’s really going to hit me,” he said.

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

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