Notebook: Driver Nears History

Donald Driver is tied with Sterling Sharpe for the franchise receptions record; final injury reports show Lions could be without Stafford, Johnson and some of defensive line; plus more from Friday.

With his first catch on Sunday, Donald Driver will become the leading receiver in the 90-year history of the Green Bay Packers.

In a franchise that has featured Pro Football Hall of Famers Don Hutson and James Lofton, Driver's is tied with Hall of Fame nominee Sterling Sharpe with 595 receptions.

"I guess it will be shocking," Driver, who has caught at least one pass in 115 consecutive games, said on Wednesday. "Last week, I got a call from Sterling just saying, ‘You deserve it.' I told him that to be mentioned in the same breath as him and James Lofton and all of the great guys that played before me, it's an honor. He said, ‘You deserve it. It's nothing that has been given to you. Go out and do what you do.'

"That's one thing you say you would never imagine. I would have never predicted it, in a million years. If someone would have said, ‘Donald, a seventh-round draft pick, you're going to make the team, you're going to be the all-time leading receiver for the Packers.' You would have never thought that would happen, but to be this close to it, it means a lot. I think when it is all said and done and the record is broken, I'll be happy to put my name on top of Sterling's for once in a lifetime. Not on everything, but at least I can say I got him on that one."

Coach Mike McCarthy didn't understate the significance of the moment.

"Oh, my gosh. I think anytime you say all-time in the history of the Green Bay Packers, regardless of the category, I think that speaks volumes," he said on Friday. "The tradition and the history of the Green Bay Packers, the players that have played before the players that are here, I think it speaks volumes about Donald's performance, and even moreso as a person, the way he goes about his business."

Driver was a seventh-round pick by the Packers in 1999, when McCarthy spent one year as quarterbacks coach. Driver was a wiry 174 pounds back then; today, he's a solid 194.

"Yeah, we talk about those days," McCarthy said. "He's a lot bigger. That's what I remember, how light he was when he came in. But, boy, was he gifted. The thing I remember about Donald in '99 was his ability to go get the football. He had incredible leaping ability. I know he was a high-jumper, and that's the thing that really stuck out. He had a huge heart. He was definitely undersized, but what he's done with his body and just to play at the level he has throughout his career, it's been really fun to come back and be part of it."

Once Driver has his catch, the game will be stopped, the ball will be taken out of play and a PA announcement will be made. By NFL rule, however, the game can't be stopped and the play clock will continue to run.

Packers injury report

Out — FB Korey Hall (calf); T Mark Tauscher (knee); RB DeShawn Wynn (knee). Questionable — C/G Jason Spitz (back); C Scott Wells (hamstring). Probable — S Atari Bigby (knee); T Chad Clifton (ankle); G Daryn Colledge (knee); RB Brandon Jackson (ankle); DE Cullen Jenkins (ankle); NT Ryan Pickett (hip); LB Brady Poppinga (illness); LB Jeremy Thompson (knee).

McCarthy said he'd be "surprised" if Spitz and Wells miss Sunday's game. Spitz did not participate while Wells was listed as limited. If both are healthy, Spitz would get the call at center. Newly re-signed Tauscher will not play.

Fullback Quinn Johnson, who figures to make his NFL debut this week with Hall out, missed practice due to what McCarthy called a personal matter. Johnson, who was born in Edgard, La., went back to Louisiana but is expected back on Saturday.

Lions injury report

Doubtful — DT Sammie Hill (ankle); DE Jason Hunter (ankle); S Ko Simpson (hamstring). Questionable — FB Jerome Felton (shoulder); TE Casey FitzSimmons (thigh); WR Calvin Johnson (knee); RB Maurice Morris (hip); QB Matthew Stafford (knee); DE Dewayne White (hamstring). Probable — T Gosder Cherilus (shoulder); LB Jordan Dizon (foot); DT Grady Jackson (knee); TE Brandon Pettigrew (hamstring); LB Ernie Sims (shoulder).

Not only are the Lions 1-4 but they're wounded.

Stafford, who sat out last week's loss to Pittsburgh, was a limited participant at practice on Wednesday but hasn't practiced since. Star receiver Johnson, who was injured in the first quarter last week, hasn't practice all week, nor have three-fourths of the starting defensive line: ends Hunter and White and tackle Hill.

Lions coach Jim Schwartz told reporters in Detroit that he'd choose between Stafford and Daunte Culpepper on Sunday morning.

"He's here," Schwartz said of Stafford. "He's been out (to practice). He's been at practice every single day."

Familiar face

Not only are Hunter, Jackson and safety Marquand Manuel former Packers, but the Lions signed Kole Heckendorf to the practice squad this week. Heckendorf, a native of Mosinee, Wis., had a solid training camp for the Packers as an undrafted free agent.

"He had a really good workout for us," Schwartz said in a conference call on Wednesday. "We were in a situation where we needed wide receivers. We actually had to make a move. We brought him in last week and had to make a move before he got here to get a guy out to practice. So, we really liked his workout. What we did is we got through last week with a different guy (Logan Payne) on the practice squad and then as soon as we got the chance, we got Kole in there. He's got good size. I really don't know a lot about him other than from what I saw on preseason tape and then also in the workout. We have some injuries to some wide receivers, so he'll get a lot of reps out there and we'll sort of get a feel for him as he goes the next couple days how he looks."

Four-point stance (NFL edition)

— Denver, Indianapolis, Minnesota, New Orleans and the New York Giants are undefeated, with that quintet being the most undefeated teams through five weeks in NFL history.

— Six of eight divisions are on track to have a new champion, led by the Saints, who finished last in the NFC South last season.

— At 2-2, the Packers are tied for ninth in the NFC standings. That's not a big deal. Since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, 11 teams have been at least three games under .500 after the season's first five weeks (or later) to qualify for the playoffs. San Diego won the AFC West last year after starting 4-8.

— Teams that have had a 300-yard passer are 23-8 this season. The Packers, of course, were one of those losers, falling at Minnesota despite 384 passing yards by Aaron Rodgers.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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