Maybe you saw him win the Mirror Ball.
And whether you're a football fan or a fan of Dancing With the Stars (or like me, a fan of both--yes I'll admit it), there's a very good chance you know who Donald Driver is. He's got a killer smile and killing moves, and he kind of seems perfect in a way. But he's not. He's made mistakes, and he deals with them with disarming honesty in his autobiography Driven. It's all there--the highs and lows, and the lessons he's learned along the way.
Recently, I got the chance to ask him about his book and his life.
Chris Schluep: You are very honest about your rough childhood. Was it difficult to open up about the crime and poverty that pervaded your youth?
Donald Driver: I have always viewed sharing my story as an opportunity"”an opportunity to show kids who are going through some of the same things I went through that there is a better way. I want kids to know that no matter where they're from or what they are going through, nothing is impossible. All you need is a dream and the determination to achieve it, no matter what obstacles are in your way.
CS: As a reader, one of my major takeaways from Driven was that it's okay to make mistakes. Was this an important message for you to get across to people?
DD: Yes! It's okay to make mistakes, but you have to own them and learn from them so you don't make them again in the future.
CS: You were a low draft pick coming out of college"”making the Packers wasn't a shoo-in. How did you motivate yourself to succeed?
DD: I saw where I came from and knew I didn't want to go back to living that life. I remember lying in bed with my brother when we were kids (we had to share a bed) and telling him, "I'm going to get us out of this. I'm going to make it." I didn't want my family to struggle and I was going to do anything and everything to make the team and ensure they wouldn't have to anymore.
CS: When you came to Green Bay, you weren't even sure where it was on a map. But when you retired from football, you were given the key to the city. How did Green Bay change you?
DD: It expanded my family by a few million people! The way Packers fans embraced me from day one, and the love they showed me throughout my entire fourteen-year career, it truly does feel like they are part of my family. The fans mean the world to me and I cannot thank them enough for their support.
CS: You had the benefit of playing with greats like Brett Favre, which taught you a lot. As your career progressed, was it important for you to provide similar mentoring to younger players on the team?
DD: It was important because showing those young guys the ropes not only helps them make your football team better on the field, it also helps them learn the right things to do and say off of it. I was fortunate to have a few vets looking after me, it's one of those things you just try to pay forward when it's your turn.
CS: You got down to 2 percent body fat to perform on Dancing with the Stars. Was winning the Mirror Ball as difficult as winning the Super Bowl? Is that even a fair comparison?
DD: I think it's a fair comparison because they were both incredibly tough to accomplish. There would be days where my partner, Peta, and I would practice for ten or twelve hours. But winning the Super Bowl took me twelve years to accomplish, so I think I have to give that the edge.