Analysis: Keep Driver with Packers, but in bigger role than on the field

CREATED Jan 15, 2013

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  • Donald Driver. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2000. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Against the Carolina Panthers in 2002. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Against the Chicago Bears in 2002. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Against the Detroit Lions in 2002. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Against the Buffalo Bills in 2002. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Against the San Diego Chargers in 2003. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Against the Detroit Lions in 2004. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Against the Dallas Cowboys in 2004. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Against the Houston Texans in 2004. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Against the New Orleans Saints in 2006. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Against the San Francisco 49ers in 2006. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • After a game against the Detroit Lions in 2008. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Against the Cleveland Browns in 2009. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Against the Detroit Lions in 2009. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Against the San Francisco 49ers in 2010. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Celebrating an NFC Championship Game win over the Chicago Bears in January 2011. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • In Super Bowl XLV against the Pittsburgh Steelers in February 2011. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Against the New York Giants in 2011. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Against the Detroit Lions in January 2012. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Against the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • Before a game against the Tennessee Titans in 2012. | Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

  • At the 2012 NFC divisional playoff vs. 49ers. | Photo: TODAY'S TMJ4

Click on the photos at left to see a photo gallery retrospective of Donald Driver's career with the Green Bay Packers.

GREEN BAY - After a year where Packers all-time leading receiver Donald Driver found his on-field role severely minimized, Driver and his team are both discerning his future.

Perhaps the Packers and Driver should keep their relationship going, but by grooming Driver for a greater role than anything he could accomplish on the field - becoming a racial groundbreaker as the top executive of the Packers whenever Mark Murphy moves on.

(Whether that's in two years or 20 seasons - no rush for him to leave after the job he's been doing as Packers president.)

Currently, no African-Americans hold the top leadership position on an NFL team.  Of course, that top position on all the other 31 NFL franchises is the team's majority owner.

Even with the money Driver has made in his long career in Green Bay, he probably doesn't have the bank account to buy an NFL franchise - at least not yet.

However, the unique corporate structure of the Packers - a non-profit organization - means that the team president is the top leader, and not the majority owner.

Driver has gained incredible goodwill among both the Packers and nighttime television watchers, all because of his exploits on the field and the dance floor.

He certainly has gained a solid business sense in his time in Green Bay, and has both incredible likeability and solid leadership skill.

All those qualities, when married with business experience, are fantastic for eventually becoming the successor to Mark Murphy whenever he decides to move on. 

If Driver has any desire to follow the path of a groundbreaking African-American businessman like Packers Hall of Fame defensive end Willie Davis, he could go under Murphy's wing and learn more about the business side of the NFL.

In time - perhaps initially in a dual role as special assistant to Murphy and wide receivers co-coach - he could gain enough skills to be be the perfect person to take over for Murphy.

If the racial makeup of NFL ownership remains as it is today - something which hopefully changes soon - Driver would become the first African-American to have the top leadership position with an NFL team.

No catch, no touchdown, no block, no dance move, nor anything Driver has ever done on a dance floor would ever surpass him making that groundbreaking move and, if he's the best man for the job, someday becoming president of the Green Bay Packers.

(Note: ESPN is reporting that the Oakland Raiders are talking with NFL executive Ray Anderson, who is African-American, about becoming the team's first president - but not in an ownership capacity.)