DWTS is the new Madden Curse.
Donald Driver triumphantly raised the Mirror Ball last night with his partner Peta Murgatroyd in their Dancing With The Stars title. The Green Bay Packers’ wide receiver is staring retirement square in the eyes, and after his victory on Tuesday night, don’t expect anything less.
Driver has been showing signs that he’s inching towards retiring. Other than his massive drop off in production, he recently said on Twitter:
Hello everyone: I'm a packer for life. It will never change. Go Pack Go!!!!— Donald Driver (@Donald_Driver80) May 17, 2012
While many fans interpreted the wideout’s comments as the announcement of a new contract, others believed it signaled the end of his career. Driver later told Kendra Meinart of the Green Bay Press-Gazette they shouldn’t read too much into it:
I think so many people right now are worried if I’m going to be a Packer. I’m still under contract. My contract is not over with the Packers. I will be a Packer for life. I don’t think that’s ever going to change. I think that’s what I want the fans to understand. Don’t worry. If you haven’t heard it from me or you haven’t heard it from the Packers, you can’t listen to the reporters, the media.
The wideout is 37 years old. He didn’t have much time left in the old hourglass anyway. But after conquering Dancing With The Stars, he’ll retire between now and next spring.
Glass-half-full fans shouldn’t trick themselves into believing that the intense training he was put through on the show will prolong his career. It sure didn’t help the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Hines Ward last year. The 35-year-old Ward won DWTS last May and his production plummeted profusely.
In 2010, Ward hauled in 59 receptions for 755 yards and five touchdowns compared to last year’s 46 catches for 381 yards and two touchdowns. Pittsburgh proceeded to release Ward, which led him to retire.
Now, whether Dancing With The Stars directly leads to an NFL player’s decline remains to be seen. Since Jason Taylor took runner-up on the show in 2008, he’s been reduced to being nothing but a situational pass-rusher. Age is without a doubt the primary fuel behind these athletes’ decline, but DWTS definitely doesn’t do them any good.
Packers fans should enjoy Driver while he’s still in green and gold because it won’t be long before he dances out of the league.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.