Friday, May 12, 2006

Driver Gets His Just Reward

Donald Driver, long Brett Favre's #1 go-to guy, is finally getting paid like a #1. Driver and the Packers signed a four-year $17 million contract extension yesterday. Driver had two years left on his existing contract. What this extension in effect did was to re-do the remaining two years and add two more, taking Driver's contract through the 2009 season.

As Packers GM Ted Thompson told the Associated Press, "Donald's a fine player, a real pro, and we're glad he's going to be here a little longer." You bet. Driver is as tough as nails and does whatever is asked of him to make the team better. In last season's injury-plagued season, Driver was the only offensive weapon Favre had available as the season wore on. With everyone in the universe knowing he was the only receiving threat, Driver still finished with 86 catches for 1,221 yards and five touchdowns.

Perhaps it's Driver's humble beginnings and entry into the league as a long-shot seventh-round pick that gives him a perspective and approach that, oh say, a certain unnamed former first-round pick and former Packer doesn't have. With two years left on his contract, and being the most deserving player on the team aside from Favre for a contract extension, Driver did not demand a raise or new contract. In fact, when ESPN's Michael Smith -- he of "softball interview" fame with that other unnamed former Packer receiver -- recently said that Driver was demanding a new contract or a trade, Driver immediately stepped forward to deny that story. Driver said he would never hold out or publicly complain about his contract. GM Thompson was obviously willing to reward Driver for his performance, his loyalty, and his approach to contract negotiations. This is in stark contrast with Thompson's unwillingness to negotiate with that unnamed former Packer, who -- as the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel pointed out -- "demanded a raise before he demanded a trade."

Players that want to play for the Packers, are persons of character such as Donald Driver, and don't make themselves out to be bigger than the team...these are the types of players that will clearly be rewarded. Others who prefer to whine and threaten holdouts, retirement, etc., as they say as you depart the jet, "Buh-bye now."