Julian Edelman announced his retirement from the NFL on Monday, and it sparked an instant Hall of Fame discussion among members of the media, and many current and former players.
Green Bay Packers great Donald Driver spoke to Fox News on Wednesday on behalf of Master Lock, and he shared his input on what it takes to be a Pro Football Hall of Famer — even as he waits for the call.
Driver says he doesn’t know who should get a gold jacket and that’s the hardest part because there is “no blueprint as to where the numbers need to be” in order for a player to make it to Canton.
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The Texas native isn’t sure he knows the criteria — or that anyone else does for that matter.
“What is it?” — he asks almost rhetorically — “I think no one knows that. I think if they would have come out and said, ‘You need 1,000 catches, you need to get to 15,000 yards, and you need to have 100 touchdowns,’ I would still be playing today to make sure that I wear that gold jacket,” he said.
This year Driver was one of 130 nominees but did not make the cut of 25 semifinalists and 15 finalists.
Driver views himself and Edelman as similar players, especially since they were both seventh-round draft picks. Driver played college football at Alcorn State and Edelman was actually a quarterback in college at Kent State and was converted to wideout in the pros.
Driver, who played his entire 14-year career with the Packers from 1999-2012, was able to surpass some of the greatest wide receivers in franchise history from a statistical standpoint, including Don Hutson, James Lofton, and Sterling Sharpe.
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The four-time Pro Bowl receiver holds the franchise’s all-time records for receptions (743) and receiving yards (10,137). He was also a member of the Packers team that won Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
On the other hand, Edelman was a three-time Super Bowl champion and the MVP of Super Bowl LIII with the New England Patriots and he had 118 receptions and 1,442 yards in the postseason. Both rank him second in the Super Bowl era behind the legendary Jerry Rice.
“I haven’t gotten to the top yet, and it’s okay. But I know what I’ve done,” Driver said. “I wasn’t a first-round draft pick, I think if I would have been a first-round draft pick, and did the numbers that I did, I think it wouldn’t be a question right now should I be in the Hall of Fame.
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“My name has been on the ballot, I’ve been in the runs. And one day, I just hope if I get in, I want to be alive and I want to be able to enjoy it,” Driver continued. “But if I never get in, I can still tell my kids that I had an amazing career, and I’ve done some great things in the community, and that’s what it’s all about. If I never get in, I never get in.”
But despite such clear thoughts on the subject, the dream lives with him.
“I’ve dreamt of it. That one day I’ll be wearing that gold jacket, standing on that stage, and thanking my mom and my dad, and every coach from pee-wee league all the way until the NFL.”