Donald Driver Set to Break Prestigious Green Bay Packers Record

Michael DulkaContributor IAugust 16, 2011

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 27: Donald Driver #80 of the Green Bay Packers smiles near the end of a game against the Seattle Seahawks as the Packers clinch a wild-card playoff spot in the NFL Playoffs at Lambeau Field on December 27, 2009 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Seahawks 48-10. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Donald Driver comes into the season 42 yards shy of becoming the Green Bay Packers' all-time leading receiver. He has currently compiled 9,615 yards throughout his 12 seasons with the team. The current record is held by James Lofton, who ended his career with 9,656 yards. 

Looking at where he is now, it's hard to imagine the struggle that Driver went through. He grew up homeless, spending time living in homeless shelters, U-Haul trucks and cars.

A life of crime had all but taken Driver's future away. He was stealing cars to provide money so he could sell drugs. But Driver prevailed. He moved in with his grandmother, turned his life around and started playing football.

He excelled on the field at Acorn State and was drafted by the Packers in the seventh round of the 1999 NFL Draft. But once again, Driver's future was all but taken from him as the Packers were appeared set at the wide receiver position. All signs were to him getting cut before the season started. But he prevailed once again. 

He made the team and hasn't looked back since. He fought his way onto the field and became one of Brett Favre's favorite targets. By 2002, Driver had earned a starting spot and had a breakout year going over the 1,000 yard mark. 

Throughout his career, Driver has captured the hearts of Packers' fans by his work ethic and his million-dollar smile. His never-die attitude is contagious, and his willingness to share his story is embraced by all Packers' fans. 

Driver has always been very active in his community back in Houston and the Green Bay community that has embraced him with open arms. He started the Donald Driver Foundation to combat homelessness through education. "The Donald Driver Foundation understands that by accepting the challenge of homeless families and lack of education, we take steps in minimizing this crisis." This mission statement expresses his desire to help those in situations similar to his. 

Last season, Greg Jennings was very vocal down the stretch about the other receivers coming together and winning the Super Bowl for Driver. In the game that probably meant more to anybody on the team, besides maybe Charles Woodson, Driver suffered an ankle injury and couldn't play past the second quarter. 

This season, Driver will pass James Lofton and become the Packers' all-time leading receiver. This is no small feat, and it didn't come easily for Driver. When you add in the adversity that the he's faced, the record becomes that much more impressive. 

When the moment comes, Driver will bust out his famous smile. He will be celebrated for a moment and the ball will be saved, but all Driver will want is to get back to work. Back to proving people wrong. This time, the critics are saying he's aging and will lose his effectiveness. We should know by now, you never count out Donald Driver.