Heart versus head: the Donald Driver situation
That describes Donald Driver as he processes his last few inactive weeks as a member of the Green Bay Packers.
That's how fans are reacting to Coach Mike McCarthy's cold, logical and well-grounded decision to keep the team's all-time leading receiver in street clothes Saturday night in the playoff win against the Vikings--a game that might've been Double-D's last in Lambeau, at least as a Packer.
McCarthy and G-M Ted Thompson are a lot of things, but they aren't soft in the head or the heart. Remember, Brett Favre got traded to the New York Jets on their watch, sending the state into a frenzy matched only by the 2010 collective bargaining fight.
Football is won with numbers: on rosters, on the field and on the scoreboard. You need heart to play it, but you need the to have one made of stone if you're the guy wearing the headset.
The Packers have lots of wide receivers, even if a few are nicked up. McCarthy needed special teams bodies Saturday night and that meant activating LB Terrell Manning who would go on to earn a game ball in the win over the Vikings. Driver can't play special teams, and some of the younger wideouts (Randall Cobb and Jeremy Ross) can.
The Driver story is the stuff of Packers legend, from his humble rise from Houston poverty to certain inclusion in the team's ring of honor when he decides to call it a career. One could see Driver taking the job that Favre turned down as he "retired"--the chance to stay on the Packers payroll in an off-the-field role.
Until then, Driver remains in a gridiron limbo, a man at the end of a glorious career with a spot on the roster but no part with the active team. If the numbers at wide receiver change via sickness or injury between now and Saturday night, there's no doubt Driver will be "next man up." If not, expect more of the class, dignity, and professionalism we've come to expect from number 80.
And, as long as things stay as they are, expect more anger, irrationality and sentimentality from some in a well-meaning part of the fan base that's using its heart instead of its head.