Donald Driver has a laugh while at bat during the Donald Driver Charity Softball Game at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute on Sunday. / Ron Page/Gannett Wisconsin Media
Donald Driver won’t be coming out of retirement anytime soon.
Unless, of course, the Green Bay Packers called.
Before his sixth annual charity softball game at Fox Cities Stadium on Sunday, the Packers’ all-time leading receiver said he’s at peace with his February decision to retire from the NFL after 10,137 receiving yards, 85 touchdowns and 743 receptions over 14 seasons in Green Bay.
However, the 38-year-old also let it be known he’s still willing to return to the Packers if they ever want him back.
“Teams have called and asked would I want to come out (of retirement) and I said, ‘No, I love the green and gold,’” said Driver, who had yet to file his retirement papers as of two weeks ago.
“If the Packers called and asked, ‘Drive, come back to training camp,’ I’ll be back in training camp, but until then, I’ll just be sitting at home and just watching football.”
In all likelihood, that’s exactly where Driver will remain with the Packers moving forward with a litter of new prospects such as second-year wideout Jarrett Boykin and seventh-round rookies Kevin Dorsey and Charles Johnson.
It would take a minor miracle for the Packers to fall into dire straits at the position with 12 currently on the 90-man roster. Even in a worst-scene scenario situation, the team almost always has an additional receiver or two stashed on their practice squad during the season.
In what stands as his final season with the Packers, Driver was thrown onto the back burner of the Packers’ offense, finishing the year with only eight catches for 77 yards with two touchdowns and three drops.
After being a clean scratch in his last regular-season game, the Packers activated Driver for three plays on special teams in their 45-31 loss to San Francisco in the NFC Divisional playoffs on Jan. 13.
All that being said, Driver still holds a special spot in the hearts of Packers’ fans. Sunday’s event welcomed more than 9,000 in attendance and was sold out for the fourth consecutive year.
“You can feel the love just driving into the stadium,” Driver said. “They’re yelling and screaming. You’re not going to get that anywhere else. I go back to Dallas and I can walk the streets and everybody goes, ‘Hey, Donald,’ and they leave me alone. Here, it’s just the love. They’re always chasing you.
“Today, it’s a special moment for (fans) because maybe they think this may be my last softball game and they may never see me again. But I’m in Green Bay and here in Wisconsin. I’m not going anywhere. This is my home and it will always be.”
Driver said he plans to continue the annual event with a mixture of retired and current Packers players going forward. Sunday’s game saw the defense defeat the offense 24-20.
Watch Driver’s pre-game news conference here: http://tinyurl.com/mdpku8a