GREEN BAY – Donald Driver doesn’t know for certain what his future holds, but the Green Bay Packers all-time leading receiver and face-of-the-franchise player definitely sounded like he believes he played his final game for the team in Sunday’s 37-20 NFC Divisional Playoff loss to the New York Giants.
Not his final NFL game, but his final game with the franchise he came to embody after making the roster as an unknown seventh-round draft pick in 1999.
Speaking as he and his teammates cleaned out their lockers before heading into an offseason of uncertainty, Driver, who’ll turn 37 on Feb. 2, said he plans on playing next season, even if it isn’t with the Packers.
“It's not over yet, I hope, but if it is ...” Driver said after catching three passes – all three thrown his direction – for 45 yards and a touchdown Sunday. “This is a business, and if they decide to go a different route with the young players, then I've got to go do what I want to do. And that means either talk to my wife, sit down and make a decision on if I'm going to go somewhere else and play, or do I put the cleats up? Right now, I'm not ready to put the cleats up, so I guess I'll be going somewhere else to play."
With Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson clearly the Packers’ top two receivers, Driver shared time with James Jones and rookie Randall Cobb this season. He finished the regular season having caught 37 passes for 445 yards and six touchdowns, ranking him fifth on the team in both receptions and yardage.
Driver is under contract for the 2012 season, with a $2.2 million roster bonus due in March, a $200,000 workout bonus and a $2.6 million base salary. As a vested veteran, he would be guaranteed the full salary if he is on the roster on opening day.
“If the Packers don’t want me, I’ve got to go somewhere else and play. I don’t have a choice,” Driver said. “I’m not ready to hang the cleats up.”