There is still a spring to Donald Driver’s step as he enters his 15th NFL season with the Green Bay Packers.
Or should we say two-step?
The most prolific wide receiver in Green Bay Packers history, Driver notched another significant athletic accomplishment during the offseason when winning the "Dancing With the Stars" competition. The 37-year-old Driver proved he is still nimble enough to warrant a roster spot on one of the NFL’s deepest wide receiver corps.
FOXSports.com senior NFL writer Alex Marvez interviewed Driver on Thursday to get his thoughts on the state of his NFL career, the DWTS experience, the Packers themselves and just how long he wants to continue playing football.
Q: How much does it mean for you to continue your career in Green Bay?
Driver: It means everything. When you come into an organization as great as this one, you’ve played your entire career here and the fans are special. You want to be here as long as possible. You would like to finish your career here.
Q: What is your personal assessment of Donald Driver at age 37? Do you consider yourself like a fine wine getting better with age?
Driver: Yeah. It’s a fine wine that’s still aging. That’s the good thing about it. They say the more age, the better (the wine) tastes. I feel like that’s how I’m playing.
Q: How would you describe your role on this team at this point?
Driver: I don’t know. You can’t really pinpoint one thing. I’m just hoping the leadership I show on and off the field leads me to be a great example to other players.
Q: What’s it like to know that some of your teammates were in high school when you first entered the league and what do you try to impart to them?
Driver: (Laughs) Randall Cobb was seven years old. I try to tell the young guys that life is short and these opportunities don’t come around often. You’ve got to embrace every opportunity you have, especially playing on this level. I think a lot of guys now see what I’m talking about. Some guys get to play 15 great years like myself, but others don’t get to play but a year or two. These guys know you can’t take it for granted.
Q: Obviously, the 2011 season didn’t end the way you wanted it to with a first-round playoff loss to the New York Giants. How do you reflect upon last year?
Driver: That was a tough one. To go 15-1 is great. You can’t take that for granted. Not too many people get to go 15-1. We felt like we made a lot of mistakes (in the playoffs) that we didn’t make during the season. If you want to be part of a great team, you can’t make those same mistakes.
Q: You are the NFL’s reigning "Dancing with the Stars" champion. What else did you get out of that experience competing during the spring?
Driver: Don’t ever leave your dreams behind. Always follow your dreams regardless of the situation. I always wanted to be a part of that. I’ve been watching the show since Season 1. It was a great opportunity for me to be on the show. For me to get on there and do what I’ve done is something special. I’m glad that ABC gave me the opportunity to do it. Now, I have a different fan base than what I did. Everywhere I go now, people are like, ‘That’s the guy from Dancing With the Stars!’ It’s pretty good that you’re not just a football player but you’re in the entertainment world.
Q: What are your plans for life after football?
Driver: I guess the biggest thing is I haven’t sat down and thought about it yet. Right now, I’m working with "Good Morning America" as a correspondent. If something works in with that, maybe I can do something in the entertainment world or a couple of movies here and there. Whatever God has in store for me, I’m going to take it.
Q: Finally, I’d ask you to reflect upon your Packers legacy but it isn’t over. Do you think you’re going to hit your target goal of playing when you’re 40?
Driver: I hope so and I hope it’s here, although you never know the situation. I’m going to take every year one by one and see where we go from there.