Driver signs contract extension

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Wide receiver Dona...
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Looks like Donald Driver will ultimately retire as a Green Bay Packer.

Donald Driver signed a contract extension with the Green Bay Packers on Friday that locks up the team’s all-time leading receiver through 2012.

Driver was all smiles and at ease while talking about finishing his career as Packer.

“That’s something I dreamed of for a long time,” Driver said. “When it’s all said and done, and I’m done playing, I’m going to be wearing green and gold.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, and Driver’s agent, Jordan Woy, did not reply to phone or e-mail messages. Driver said the two sides began discussing a new deal after the 2009 season.

Before Friday’s extension, Driver was working under a four-year contract signed in 2007 that was scheduled to pay him $7.1 million this year.

Driver, who signed the deal after practice, was selected in the seventh round of the 1999 draft out of tiny Alcorn State. Twelve years later, he ranks No. 1 in franchise history in receptions (647) and is No. 2 in receiving yards (9,050) behind only James Lofton (9,656). Driver played his way onto three Pro Bowls (2002, 2006, 2007) and always said he wanted to play until he was 40. The extension will get him close — to age 38.

“It gets to a point where you realize you want to be here your whole career,” Driver said. “Whatever it is, you accept it and play it out.

“You get to a point where it’s more mental than physical. I’m willing to walk away before they have to tell me to walk away. I think that’s more respectful to the organization and myself, just to walk away from the game before I embarrass myself.”

Players spending their entire career with one team has become less common in the salary cap era. Driver said he’s proud to be one of the few able to accomplish that.

“It’s very special,” Driver said. “You don’t see it too often. To get that opportunity to wear the green and gold, and the traditions behind the great organization, is remarkable. My wife always said she never wants to leave Green Bay. I always said I never wanted to leave here.

“When I got the opportunity in 1999, I was just trying to make it year by year. … To be able to, one day (I’m hoping) to be in the Packers Hall of Fame, that’s going to be a great thing.” (Source: Green Bay Press Gazette)

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