GREEN BAY, Wis. — Donald Driver isn’t sure what his football future holds.
The Packers’ all-time leading receiver just completed what he called “a very difficult, tough and frustrating” 14th season in Green Bay in which he had just eight catches for 77 yards and two touchdowns.
As Driver enters free agency with his 38th birthday on the horizon, it’s very unlikely that Green Bay has interest in re-signing him considering his low-ranking spot on the depth chart. However, Driver is hoping some NFL team still views him as a valuable commodity.
“I feel like I can still play,” Driver said Sunday as he cleaned out his locker. “I think I’ve proven that. I think it’s not a (situation of if) I think if I can still play or not. I think I’m just going to see what’s out there for me, and, if teams call and want me to come then I’ve got to make that decision.
“If not, if the Packers want me back, then I’ll come back. So, at this point, it may not work here, but it may work somewhere else.”
Driver had been somewhat fazed out of the offense during the 2010 and 2011 seasons, catching fewer passes in each of those two seasons than he had in any year since his third in the NFL in 2001. But, after Driver won “Dancing with the Stars” in the summer of 2012, he agreed to a restructured deal with the Packers for this season.
Driver rarely got on the field, though, going from a 15-game starter in 2011 to spending four games on the inactive list — despite being healthy enough to play — in 2012.
“It was very difficult,” Driver said. “It was tough and frustrating all at the same time, but I think the thing for me is that I was able handle it in a certain way. I think you can take the negative out of it or the positive. I decided to take the high road and take the positive side of it, and it’s not what you want but that’s the way the business is, and you have to deal with it.
“I don’t have regrets. I had those years ago. No more now.”
Just to avoid the gameday inactive list for a second consecutive playoff game, Driver had to convince special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum to use him in those areas for what turned out to be a season-ending loss against the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round.
“I talked to Slocum and asked him, ‘Can I get back on special teams?'” Driver said. “The week before I was on (special teams in practice) and it didn’t work out (to be active for the opening-round win over Minnesota). Then, this week he said, ‘Sure,’ and they put me back on for this game.”
That allowed Driver the opportunity to at least suit up with the Packers one last time, if in fact it was his final game with the team.
“It meant everything,” Driver said. “You didn’t know if that was going to be your last day or not, but if it is my last game, then it was a true honor just to put that uniform on once again. I wore that uniform for a long time and it’s truly a blessing to be wearing the green and gold.”
Driver doesn’t seem ready to retire yet. He wants to discuss his future with his family first, but he maintained his previously stated idea of wanting to play until he’s at least 40 years old. That would mean at least two more seasons in the NFL.
“That’s always been the goal,” Driver said. “I don’t think that’s going to ever change for me. If (age) 41 comes into play or 42, then I’ll continue to play. As long as I’m having fun, I’ve always said that, so we’ll see what happens.
“I don’t know exactly what’s going to all lay out but it’s going to be a tough decision regardless of what I do.”