Driver, Collins, Gado to be honored

Wide receiver Donald Driver, safety Nick Collins and running back Samkon Gado all will receive awards honoring last season's accomplishments at the 2006 Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame Induction Banquet on July 22 in the Lambeau Field Atrium, the Packers Hall of Fame announced.

Driver was named ‘Most Valuable Player.' With injuries decimating the team's skill positions in 2005, he served as the Packers' primary offensive threat and led the team with 86 receptions and 1,221 yards — both career bests — with five touchdowns. He also earned the ‘Ed Block Courage Award,' given to one player on every NFL roster who displays commitments to the principles of courage and sportsmanship, as voted by his teammates.

Collins was named ‘Defensive Rookie of the Year.' A promising second-round draft pick, he grabbed the starting spot at free safety early in training camp and went on to start all 16 games for the NFL's No. 1 passing defense. Collins earned a spot on the prestigious All-Rookie team of Pro Football Weekly/Pro Football Writers of America. Packers defensive coordinator Bob Sanders will present the award to Collins.

Gado was named ‘Offensive Rookie of the Year.' An unlikely candidate to become the Packers' featured back, he ascended from the practice squad to lead the team in rushing and score a team rookie-record six touchdowns. Gado was named to USA Today's ‘All-Joe' team, was the NFL's ‘Rookie of the Month' in November and twice earned ‘Diet Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week' honors. Packers running backs coach Edgar Bennett will present the award to Gado.

White, who passed away on Dec. 26, 2004, is the most honored athlete ever to play defensive end in the NFL and was a key player for the Packers' 1996 team that won Super Bowl XXXI. In honor of the huge impact "The Minister of Defense" had during his six-year Packers career (1993-98), the Packers retired his No. 92 at the 2005 home opener, Sept. 18, vs. Cleveland.

White joined the Packers as the NFL's most sought-after free agent in 1993 and immediately elevated the performance of the Green and Gold's defense. After finishing 23rd in the league in 1992, the unit rose to No. 2 in 1993. The defense ranked No. 1 during the 1996 championship season, the first such ranking since 1967.

Keith Jackson, a former Packers tight end and teammate of White, will present White for induction. Former Packers center Larry McCarren, game analyst on the Packers Radio Network and sports director at WFRV-TV CBS 5 in Green Bay, will be emcee of the banquet. In addition to White's induction, the Hall of Fame will formally induct this year's FAN honoree, Kathy Lazzaro.

Tickets for the banquet, which begins with cocktails at 4:30 p.m., with dinner and program to follow at 7 p.m., are $110 each. Tables of 10 also are available and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Early reservations are recommended. To purchase tickets, call Gwen Borga at 920/965-6984, or e-mail her at

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