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McCarthy, Thompson and Murphy talk about Driver

Feb. 6, 2013
 
Donald Driver fans share their memories of number ...
Donald Driver fans share their memories of number ...: Donald Driver fans share their memories of number 80.
Donald Driver and his wife, Betina, at Wednesday's retirement event at Lambeau Field.

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Donald Driver's retirement news conference began with Packers president Mark Murphy, coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson each taking turns talking about the long-time wide receiver.

Mark Murphy’s comments on Driver:

“It’s always bittersweet when a great player’s career comes to an end like Donald’s.”

“I think it’s really fitting we’re having this retirement ceremony in a public forum in front of fans. In my time in Green Bay, I don’t know if I’ve seen a player with a better connection with the fans than Donald. First time we’ve had a public retirement in front of the fans.”

“The other thing that stands out about Donald is his love of the game. A seventh-round pick who became a great success.”

“It’s’ a tribute for a player like Donald to play on one team and leave on his own terms.”

Ted Thompson on Driver:

“This is one of my favorite things to do. First of all, I’d like to say congratulations to Donald and Betina. Their contributions to the Packers have been phenomenal.”

“Remember a skinny wide receiver from Alcorn State. When you see something special or see something different, a scout in the room will say, ‘Can you run that back?’ With Donald, we did that all the time. You could see a special quality the player had. Through that grainy, black-and-white tape we had from Alcorn State, you could see the enjoyment Donald had playing the game.”

“Time for first mini camp, he showed up as this skinny, skinny kid. It’s not like last summer when you’re watching dancing with the stars. He kept working on it and he kept playing, and he made it. A lot of people made reference that he was a seventh-round pick. It’s not the end of the world and it doesn’t matter when you have character.”

“No matter where Donald would’ve wound up in that draft – whether he was in first round or he was a free agent – it didn’t matter because he’s been a blessing to have here.”

Mike McCarthy on Driver:

“I was looking for three things to describe Donald. I was here in 1999 as a quarterbacks coach, the first thing that jumped out to me was I remember specifically we were in a red zone drill. I think Donald was wearing No. 13 at the time. Brett Favre threw this ball with a velocity that looked like it was going to go over the fence. Out of nowhere he comes Donald making a big catch. You could see the smile and athletic ability. It was a tremendous first impression I’ll never forget.”

“When I came back in 2006, I could see the work ethic. He’d highlight the same reads over and over. You’d talk to the weight training staff, he’d compete with the offensive linemen. Never missed practice.”

“My memory of Donald is the touchdown against the 49ers. With the throwback jersey, lord knows how many tackles he broke. If you’re looking for a picture of what Donald Driver means as a football player, as a player, that’s the picture. In my humble opinion, I think he’s clearly the all-time leading Lambeau Leaper.”

McCarthy began breaking up toward the end of his speech on Driver when talking about traveling out to California for the “Dancing With the Stars” finale.

“Almost made it,” said McCarthy, crying. “I’m consistent, I’ll say that.”

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Get Green Bay Packers updates as they happen from our reporting team: (from left) Mike Vandermause, Wes Hodkiewicz and Pete Dougherty.

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