There's been talk about Packers veteran wide receiver Donald Driver being a target for the Vikings in the off-season. But you can cross him off the wish list after Driver announced his retirement Thursday morning on ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning Show.
"There are other things out there," said Driver, who saw his playing time reduced significantly this season. He caught only eight passes for 77 yards this season, his 14th in the NFL.
Driver didn't disclose many details, saying he's planning a public event in Green Bay for next week to talk more about his decision.
One thing he did say: He won't be doing a Brett Favre.
"I'm not coming back," Driver said. "The thing is, you know, you just don't want to jump back and forth."
A Green Bay TV report over the weekend mentioned the Vikings' interest in Driver.
Driver's career statistics are here.
As you might imagine, reaction in the Badger State to the report Bret Bielema took the head football job at Arkansas came fast and furious Tuesday afternoon. A quick read through message boards and comment streams associated with stories here, here and here run the gamut.
A Michigan writer says that Red Wings fans shouldn't fret over the team not signing Zach Parise or Ryan Suter.
Pat Caputo, a reporter and columnist for the Oakland Press, reserves his harshest words for Suter: Not signing the defenseman "may turn out to be the best thing that could have happened to the Red Wings. Sure, they need a replacement for defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom, perhaps the greatest player to ever take his position. Suter was the best available option. But he is not Nicklas Lidstrom.
"He has never been a second-team NHL all-star nor a Norris Trophy finalist for best defenseman in the NHL. His plus-minus ratio is minus-4 in 39 career playoff games, and he was a minus player in last spring’s playoffs, too. And the Red Wings offered $90 million for him?"
Lidstrom, one of hockey's all-time greats, retired last season at age 42. Caputo continues: "Even last season, even in his 40s, Lidstrom was considerably better player than Suter until he took a shot off his ankle which greatly hindered his play. Honestly, two Ryan Suter’s don’t equal one Nicklas Lidstrom.
Of Parise, Caputo writes: "Parise didn’t lead the Devils to the Stanley Cup finals. He had eight goals, 15 points and was minus-eight in 24 playoff games — hardly the stuff of Wayne Gretzky."
You can read Caputo's words as spin in the aftermath of a failed free-agent quest by Detroit. Or you can remember the hype surrounding the signings of Joe Mauer and Brett Favre (and even Tsuyoshi Nishioka) and have examples where thoughts of championships turned into illusions. Remember when Twins fans were excited about Nishioka ... and of one mind about the Mauer deal?
The reality is... who knows? What happens next -- good or not so good -- is the fun of what happens when an owner takes a stand on behalf of his team.
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