Donald Driver biography
Date of birth : 1975-02-02
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Houston, Texas, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Sports
Last modified : 2011-01-28
Credited as : Football player NFL, wide receiver for the Packers, Super Bowl 45
• Ranks first on the franchise’s all-time list for receptions with 647 and ranks second in team history with 9,050 career yards, trailing only James Lofton (9,656).
• Extended two team records in 2009 with his seventh 1,000-yard season and sixth straight. Indianapolis’ Reggie Wayne is the only other player in the NFL to have a 1,000-yard season each of the last six years (2004-09).
• Enters ’10 with a streak of 127 games with at least one reception (133 including postseason), the longest streak in franchise history. During that streak, has been held to just one catch only once in the past five seasons.
• All-time leader in receptions (311) and yards (4,285) at Lambeau Field.
• Has caught 50-or-more passes in a season a franchise-best eight times, topping Lofton and Sterling Sharpe (seven each).
• One of the NFL’s most decorated collegiate track athletes (high jump, decathlon, long jump, triple jump), won his conference’s ‘Athlete of the Year’ award three straight years. Likely could have qualified for 2000 Sydney Olympics in high jump had he concentrated on track.
• Overcoming countless obstacles growing up has inspired him to become one of the team’s most involved players in giving back to the community. In 2000, he and his wife created the Donald Driver Foundation (www.donalddriverfoundation.com), which offers assistance to homeless mothers and underprivileged children as well as scholarships to high school students in three states. In addition, has made more than 500 appearances since 1999, from schools to youth football fields to churches, delivering motivational speeches or offering assistance.
A consistently productive pro who seems to age only numerically, continues to break franchise receiving records with each passing season and now is on the verge of perhaps the most prestigious one... Enters 2010 with 9,050 receiving yards, needing just 607 to surpass James Lofton (9,656) as Green Bay’s all-time leader in the category... Climbed past Don Hutson (7,991) and Sterling Sharpe (8,134) into second place in 2009 with his sixth straight 1,000-yard season and seventh overall, extending two franchise marks... Also assumed the top spot in team history for receptions ahead of Sharpe (595) with a 70-catch season that gives him 647 receptions in his career... His eighth season of 50-plus catches also established a team record, topping Lofton and Sharpe (seven each)... Three-time Pro Bowl selection continues to add to his Lambeau Field records for receptions (311) and receiving yards (4,285) and enters this season with a streak of 127 games with at least one reception (133 including playoffs), the longest streak in franchise history... During that streak, has been held to just one reception only once over the past five years... With 49 career TD receptions, ranks tied for fifth in team history with Lofton and needs just one more to match Max McGee (50) for fourth, with only Hutson (99), Sharpe (65) and Antonio Freeman (57) still ahead on the list; 36 of those came from Brett Favre, putting Favre and Driver third among Green Bay touchdown combinations... His 50 career TDs (49 receiving, 1 rushing) make him just the 10th player in team history with 50 touchdowns... Teamed with Greg Jennings in ’09 as the Packers posted a pair of 1,000-yard receivers for only the fifth time in team history; Driver has contributed to three of those, also teaming with Jennings in ’08 and Javon Walker in ’04... Has 22 career 100-yard receiving games, good for fourth in team history and two shy of No. 3 Hutson (24)... Also ranks fourth all-time in yards from scrimmage with 9,267, needing 446 to move past No. 3 Jim Taylor (9,712)... Added four receptions in last season’s NFC Wild Card game at Arizona to give him 32 career postseason catches, moving past Edgar Bennett (31) into fourth in team annals, trailing only Freeman (47), Robert Brooks (45) and Dorsey Levens (41).
Wants to play until he’s 40, and just may do that with the tremendous care he takes of his body... With 161 games played, ranks 13th in franchise history and would move up to seventh with another full 16-game season... Impressive, uninterrupted run of success began in 2004, when he first approached age 30, with the first of three straight years setting personal highs in receptions and yards... That year, teamed with Walker to register the Packers’ best season by a receiving duo in both combined receptions (173) and combined receiving yards (2,590); yardage total ranked second in the NFL that year behind the Rams’ Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce (2,664)... Stepped forward again in 2005 when injuries decimated the Packers at the skill positions and was the team’s lone reliable playmaker for the duration of the season, earning the team’s MVP award for the second time (also 2002)... Three-year stretch of personal bests culminated in 92 catches for 1,295 yards in 2006 to earn his second Pro Bowl appearance... Those totals ranked third and second in the NFC, respectively; both were fifth in the NFL in 2006, and his career-high 191-yard performance at Minnesota (Nov. 12) was the best single-game total by an NFC receiver on the season..
2009 SEASON: Started all 16 games for the fourth time in the last five years, and led the team with 70 receptions and six TD catches...Also started playoff contest... Finished second with 1,061 receiving yards, his sixth straight 1,000-yard season and seventh overall, extending two team records...Ranked ninth in the NFC in receiving yards...Ranked tied for ninth in the NFL with five receptions of 40-plus yards...Was named the recipient of the 2010 Red Smith Award, an honor given annually to an individual who contributes to sports on or off the field in the state of Wisconsin... Vs. Chicago (Sept. 13): Caught four passes for 39 yards (9.8 avg), with a 14-yard reception in the first quarter moving him past Hutson (7,991) and over 8,000 career yards for the No. 3 spot on the team’s career receiving yardage list... At St. Louis (Sept. 27): Led team with four catches for 95 yards (23.8 avg.) and a TD, including a spectacular one-handed catch in the second quarter, pulling in 46-yard pass from QB Aaron Rodgers with his left hand while being interfered with by CB Bradley Fletcher; pinned the ball against his shoulder pads and helmet as he fell to the turf. Also caught 21-yard TD pass on the left sideline late in the second quarter, and with 13-yard reception on first drive, moved past Sharpe (8,134) for second in franchise history for receiving yards... At Minnesota (Oct. 5): Caught four passes for 55 yards (13.8 avg.) as his final catch of the night, a 10-yarder late in the fourth quarter, tied Sharpe for the franchise’s all-time mark in receptions with 595... Vs. Detroit (Oct. 18): On the Packers’ second series, caught a quick hitch at the line of scrimmage and picked up 5 yards for his 596th career reception, surpassing Sharpe to become the franchise’s all-time receptions leader. Added an impressive one-handed grab late in the third quarter as he hauled in a 37-yard pass from Rodgers with his left hand despite being interfered with by CB Demarcus Faggins. Finished the afternoon with team-leading seven catches (including his 600th career) for team-high 107 yards (15.3 avg.), the 21st 100-yard game of his career, moving him ahead of Freeman for sole possession of fourth place in team annals... At Cleveland (Oct. 25): Led team with 84 receiving yards on just two catches (42.0 avg.), highlighted by his 71-yard TD reception in the second quarter. With safety Abram Elam coming on a blitz, Rodgers found Driver with a quick pass at the Cleveland 35 and Driver did the rest, fighting off CB Eric Wright for the final 20 yards of the 71-yard score... Vs. Dallas (Nov. 15): Tied for team lead with four catches for 50 yards, with game-long 24-yard reception over the middle at the end of the first half setting up Mason Crosby’s 48-yard FG as time expired, the only points scored by either team in the first half...
2008: Started all 16 games and ranked second on the team with 74 receptions for 1,012 yards (13.7 avg.) and five TDs... Ranked 13th in the NFC in receptions and tied for third in the conference with 25 catches on third down, including four of his five TD receptions... Tied for fifth in the NFL with six receptions of 40-plus yards, a career high... Vs. Atlanta (Oct. 5): Became eighth player in team history with 40 career TD receptions on a 44-yard grab in the second quarter, making the catch over CB Brent Grimes and S Erik Coleman... Vs. Indianapolis (Oct. 19): Became all-time leader in receiving yards at Lambeau Field with 24-yard grab in second quarter, passing Freeman’s career record of 3,477 yards. Passed Lofton for No. 2 on the all-time franchise list for receptions with 3-yard catch three plays later, giving him 532 for his career... At Tennessee (Nov. 2): With his 5-yard TD catch in the second quarter, tied Sharpe’s team record of 103 consecutive games with a catch. Matched season high with seven catches for season-best 136 yards...
2007: In his ninth season, was one of four 2007 Packers Pro Bowl selections... Played in first 15 games of the season with 14 starts, did not play Dec. 30 vs. Detroit (coach’s decision), and started both playoff contests... Led the team with 82 receptions for 1,048 yards, with two TDs, moving into third on the team’s all-time receptions list with 503 – surpassing Freeman (431), Dowler (448) and Hutson (488) – and fourth on the yards list with 6,977, eclipsing Freeman (6,651) and Dowler (6,918)... In the preseason, suffered a sprained foot fighting for extra yards in the second quarter vs. Jacksonville (Aug. 23) and did not play in the team’s preseason finale at Tennessee (Aug. 30)... Returned Sept. 2 on a limited basis and was back to full participation by the end of the week... Vs. San Diego (Sept. 23): Posted a game-high 126 receiving yards on six catches, with one TD, his first 100-yard receiving game of the season and 17th of his career. Made his first reception in the second quarter, a 16-yard gain on third-and-3. The catch moved him into first place on Lambeau Field’s all-time receptions list at 214, topping Freeman...
2006: After signing a contract extension in the offseason, answered with his second career Pro Bowl selection and the best statistical season of his career... Started all 16 games for the third time in his career and led the team with 92 receptions and 1,295 receiving yards — both career highs — and eight TDs, including an 82-yard score at Minnesota (Nov. 12) and a 68-yarder at San Francisco (Dec. 10)... Added seven carries for 16 yards (2.3 avg.)... His 1,295 overall receiving yards were second in the NFC and fifth in the league... His 92 catches ranked third in the NFC and fifth in the NFL, and he became the first Packers receiver to finish in the league’s top 5 since Freeman also finished fifth in 1998... Vs. Chicago (Sept. 10): Had a game-high seven receptions for 96 yards, moving into third place in all-time receiving yards at Lambeau, ahead of Sharpe (2,309)... Vs. New Orleans (Sept. 17): Playing in his 100th professional contest, accumulated 153 yards on eight catches and surpassed 5,000 career yards from scrimmage on a 16-yard reverse... At Detroit (Sept. 24): Surpassed McGee for sixth on the franchise’s all-time receptions list; also delivered the key assist on Jennings’ 75-yard TD reception, screening CB Dré Bly for several yards, allowing Jennings to score up the right sideline for Favre’s 400th TD pass... Vs. St. Louis (Oct. 8): Caught three passes, to move into second place for career receptions at Lambeau, eclipsing Lofton (178)... At Miami (Oct. 22): Had a game-high 10 catches for 93 yards, becoming the seventh player in team history with 5,000 career receiving yards and the 11th Packer with 30 TD receptions; caught a 34-yard TD in the third quarter, diving between two defenders to put Green Bay up 20-10 (reversed after a Packers replay challenge, the play originally was ruled incomplete).
2005: Started all 16 games and led the Packers with 86 receptions and 1,221 yards — then career bests — with five TDs... Also carried twice for 13 yards... Was selected as team MVP... Surpassed No. 7 Paul Coffman (322) on the team’s career receptions list, finishing the year with 329 catches... Became just the fourth Packers player with an 85-reception season (joining Sharpe, Brooks and Walker)... Posted a career-best five 100-yard receiving games and finished the season with consecutive 100-yard efforts... Had the Packers’ three longest catches of the season, a 59-yard reception vs. Seattle (Jan. 1), a 56-yard catch vs. Chicago (Dec. 25) and a 53-yard TD vs. Minnesota (Nov. 21)... Earned the ‘Ed Block Courage Award,’ given to one player on every NFL roster who displays commitment to the principles of courage and sportsmanship, as voted by his teammates... At Minnesota (Oct. 23): Caught a game-high eight passes for 114 yards and one TD, a spectacular, 22-yard, one-handed grab, making the catch despite being held by CB Antoine Winfield (penalty declined) for the game’s first points in tough, 23-20 loss... At Atlanta (Nov. 13): Caught season-high 10 passes for 114 yards... Vs. Minnesota (Nov. 21): Caught five passes for 84 yards and two scores, the third multi-TD game of his pro career; second TD was 53-yarder on a post pattern in final minute of first half... Vs. Chicago (Dec. 25): Brought in six catches for 107 yards, going over 1,000 yards for the season by converting a third-and-3 early in the game... Vs. Seattle (Jan. 1): Led the team with six receptions for a season-high 118 yards; his first five catches all converted third downs, while his sixth was a 59-yard grab in the third quarter to the Seattle 5, Green Bay’s longest passing play of the season.
2004: Played in all 16 games, with 11 starts; did not start in five contests when club opened in other than base personnel... Had 84 catches for 1,208 yards and matched career high with nine TDs (2002)... Teamed with Walker to register the Packers’ best season by a receiving duo in both combined receptions (173) and combined receiving yards (2,590), respectively surpassing the 172 catches of Sharpe and Bennett in 1994, and the 2,253 receiving yards of Freeman and Brooks in 1997... Among NFL receiving pairs in 2004, the two ranked second, behind only the Rams’ Holt and Bruce (2,664)... In the process of racking up huge numbers, the duo became the club’s first set of 1,000-yard receivers since 1999 (Freeman, Bill Schroeder) and just the third overall (Freeman, Brooks in ’97)... At Indianapolis (Sept. 26): Scored his first TD of the season by catching a deep out and gracefully tight-roping along the sideline for 27 yards in all to cut deficit to 38-31... At Detroit (Oct. 17): Caught a game-high nine passes for 110 yards in 38-10 victory, including a pair of TDs, his second two-TD game as a pro (Sept. 29, 2002, vs. Carolina); the second TD came on 20-yard pass from halfback Ahman Green... At Washington (Oct. 31): Pulled in career catch No. 200... At Houston (Nov. 21): Had a spectacular homecoming in his native Houston, making 10 catches for 148 yards and one TD, including a season-long 50-yard bomb, a 24-yard TD catch off his fingertips to bring the Packers within three points, a 15-yard catch on third-and-16 to set up game-tying kick, and a 12-yard catch to the Houston 28-yard line just prior to the game-winning 46-yard FG... At Minnesota (Dec. 24): In division-clinching triumph, had a clutch performance with 11 catches (matching his career high) for a (then) career-best 162 yards and a TD. In the fourth quarter, capped a drive by converting a fourth-and-3 with a tough TD reception, knotting the game at 31... Vs. Minnesota (NFC Wild Card, Jan. 9): Registered game highs in receptions (seven) and receiving yards (78).
2003: Served as Green Bay’s starting flanker for the second straight season, occasionally shifting to split end as dictated by injuries... Started 15 regular-season games (13 at FL, two at SE)... Also saw action in both playoff games; he did not start Wild Card contest vs. Seattle (Jan. 4) when Green Bay opened with two TEs... Led the team in receptions for the second consecutive season, with 52 catches for 621 yards and two TDs... Also tied for the team lead in postseason receptions with eight for 91 yards... Vs. Minnesota (Sept. 7): Suffered a sprained neck midway through the fourth quarter of the season opener when he landed on his head after going high to attempt a catch, but missed only one game... At Minnesota (Nov. 2): Had a career-long 45-yard run to set up an early FG... At San Diego (Dec. 14): Enjoyed his top performance of the season as he pulled in eight passes for 112 yards – the Packers’ first 100-yard receiving effort of the season – and a 7-yard TD just before halftime to give Green Bay a 17-3 advantage... At Oakland (Dec. 22): Keyed the Packers’ final TD with a season-long 41-yard reception; he caught the ball between two defenders, over his shoulder, falling backward toward the sideline... Vs. Seattle (NFC Wild Card, Jan. 4): Posted his best effort of the playoffs to date, pulling in six passes for 66 yards, including a leaping, 23-yard catch between two defenders to set up a FG just before halftime.
2002: Developed into one of the league’s most explosive playmakers in his fourth NFL season... Won the starting SE position, vacated when Schroeder was allowed to leave in free agency, with a strong preseason performance... Was one of Green Bay’s most consistent performers in training camp practices, edging Robert Ferguson and Charles Lee, among others, to become a full-time starter for the first time as a pro... Earning his first Pro Bowl trip, he became the lowest-drafted Packers player (seventh round) to participate in the Pro Bowl since Larry McCarren (12th round) in 1983 (Don Majkowski, 10th round, was chosen for the game in 1989, but did not play)... Led the Packers in receptions (70, 14th in the NFC), receiving yards (1,064, 10th in NFC) and TD receptions (nine, second in NFC) – all three figures eclipsing his three-year NFL totals entering the 2002 season... Had more catches (70) in his first year as a starter than any of the top 10 WRs in Packers history had in their initial season in the starting lineup... Became the eighth 1,000-yard receiver in Packers history – and the first drafted in the seventh round or later – at San Francisco (Dec. 15) when he reached the plateau for the first time as a pro... Enjoyed the fifth-highest yards-per-catch average in the NFC (15.2) and tied for fourth in the NFC in third-down receptions (25).
Two-year starter and three-time letterman (1996-98) at Alcorn State... Coached in college by Johnny Thomas, who once tutored Jerry Rice at Mississippi Valley State, and said Driver had Rice’s maturity... Multi-talented, was a member of the Braves’ track team all four years (1996-99)... Earned all-conference honors in both sports his senior year... Made 88 career receptions for 1,933 yards and 17 TDs... Earned B.S. degree in accounting... Senior season (1998): Earned second-team All-Southwestern Athletic Conference honors when he led the Braves in receptions (55), receiving yards (1,128) and scoring (60 points)... Posted six 100-yard receiving efforts among 11 games played... Established career highs in catches (11) and yards receiving (173) at Prairie View A&M (Oct. 10)... Junior season (1997): Averaged 26.5 yards per reception in his first season as a starter... Led team with 556 receiving yards on 21 catches, six of which went for TDs... Caught a career-long 81-yard TD vs. Mississippi Valley State (Nov. 8)... Sophomore season (1996): In first season as football letterman, caught 12 passes for 249 yards (20.8 avg.) and a TD... Track and field: Possessor of world-class ability in the high jump as a track athlete, he also participated in the decathlon, long jump and triple jump... Was named as the outstanding field performer in the SWAC, honoring both indoor and outdoor seasons, three straight years (1996-98)... Qualified for the 1996 Olympic Field Trials in the high jump with a leap of 7 feet, 6½ inches (ranked No. 1 in the nation that year), accomplished at the 37th annual Pelican Relays... Was the 1996 SWAC champion (indoor and outdoor) in the long jump, triple jump and decathlon, finishing second in the high jump... Was the 1997 SWAC champion (indoor and outdoor) in the long jump and triple jump, again coming in second in the high jump... Also was the ’97 SWAC (outdoor) champ in the decathlon... Qualified for the 1997 NCAA Championships in the long jump with a leap of 25 feet, 5 inches... Was the 1998 SWAC (indoor) champion in the long jump (25-5), triple jump (50-2) and high jump (7-2)... Was the 1999 SWAC (indoor) champion in the long jump (25-0) and triple jump (51-3); he came in third in the high jump.
Born Donald Jerome Driver... Born in Houston... Married to Betina, whom he met at Alcorn State and married in 2000; the couple has two children, son, Cristian, 7, and daughter, Christina, 5... As a youngster, nicknamed ‘Quickie’ by his parents, who grew tired of chasing him around the house, and because he was a quick learner... High school: Lettered four times each in track, football, basketball and baseball at Milby High in Houston... Played WR and DB, and returned punts and kickoffs... Honorable mention all-state in football... The middle child in a five-sibling family, which lived for a time during his early teens out of a U-Haul truck after a collection agency confiscated the family’s possessions... He also spent multiple holidays without parents and slept several nights in motel rooms his mother, Faye Gray, purchased with food stamps... Also remembers several times when his mom skipped meals while working at night... Moved in with his grandmother, Betty Lofton, who encouraged him to go to church, at age 14... Motivated toward football by college films of his father, Marvin, a QB who earned a Texas A&M scholarship, and likely would’ve gone pro but gave up NFL dreams to support his mom after his father’s death (Donald’s grandfather)... Community involvement: Overcoming incredible trials has inspired Driver to become one of the Packers’ most involved players in the community... Has made more than 500 appearances during his NFL career and in 2007 received a JB Award for community service, named for CBS’ NFL Today host James Brown and given to a select group of players for their individual contributions to their communities... Named Packers’ ‘Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year’ in 2002, in recognition of his extensive work in the community... Also was chosen by Sporting News as one of the NFL’s “Good Guys” in its July 5, 2004, issue... In 2000, created the Donald Driver Foundation (www.donalddriverfoundation.com), with the motto “Strong Hands, Strong Minds, Loving Hearts”... Run by his mother, the organization offers assistance to homeless mothers and underprivileged children... Since its inception, the foundation has helped at least 17 families in the Houston and Green Bay areas by purchasing homes or providing other housing or mortgage assistance... The foundation also provides 10 scholarships worth $1,000 each, annually, to students in Texas, Mississippi and Wisconsin, and has funded several computer labs for inner-city youth centers... During the foundation’s big fundraising time in June, hosts the annual Donald Driver Golf Classic at courses in both Texas and Wisconsin, hosts the Celebrity 9-Ball Shootout at Slick Willie’s Family Pool Hall in Houston, and also hosts the annual Donald Driver Football Camp in three locations: Houston, Milwaukee and Cleveland, Miss., these camps are free for children between the ages of 7-17... Also ran drills at an Oneida Nation football clinic in July 2005 and has conducted or helped out at football camps in Green Bay and De Pere in recent years... In summer 2008 he took over the tradition of hosting the annual Packers offense vs. defense charity softball game with the proceeds going to support the Donald Driver Foundation... In summer 2006, participated in the inaugural Packers Tailgate Tour, visiting four Wisconsin cities as well as other impromptu stops to meet and chat with fans from all over the state... Has been a frequent speaker at Green Bay-area schools, addressing the importance of fitness and making good decisions in life... Has been involved with ‘Junior Power Pack,’ the Packers’ fan club for kids, local Pop Warner football, and the Brown County Association for Retarded Citizens (now ASPIRO)... Appeared in a national United Way commercial on behalf of the NFL and Packers, which started in the 2003 season... Received the ‘Community Service Award’ from the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce in August 2001, in recognition of his community involvement... Earned the ‘Professional Achievement Award’ at the sixth annual Lee Remmel Sports Awards Banquet in April 2003 and was the recipient of the 2010 Red Smith Award for professional achievement, an honor given annually to an individual who contributes to sports on or off the field in the state of Wisconsin... This past year, also rang bells for the Salvation Army and signed autographs for donations in a competition against the Minnesota Vikings’ defensive line... Additionally has given time and money to the Milwaukee Juvenile Detention Center, the PALS program, Children’s Miracle Network and the Calvary Baptist Church Scholarship... Has taken part in the Brett Favre Celebrity Softball Game as well as Edgar Bennett’s Celebrity Bowl-A-Thon to benefit the Angel Fund for Children with Cancer... Hobbies/interests: Is part-owner of two Chevrolet/Buick car dealerships in eastern Wisconsin... Nearing completion of a master’s degree in computer science... Hobbies include reading novels and spending time with his family... Splits residence between De Pere, Wis., and Flower Mound, Texas.