Driven: From Homeless to Hero, My Journeys On and Off Lambeau Field

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The legendary NFL receiver, all-time receptions and yards leader for the Green Bay Packers, and Dancing with the Stars champion looks back on his life and career.

When he was picked in the seventh-round of 1999 NFL draft, Donald Driver couldn’t find Green Bay on a map. He was given little chance of making the Packers roster, much less of amassing over 10,000 yards in his career and becoming a Super Bowl champion. But in an unlikely journey, Driver has overcome obstacle after obstacle to become one of the most successful players in the NFL.
 
Now, for the first time, Driver recalls his time growing up in Houston, spending nights living in a U-Haul trailer with his mother and stealing cars and selling drugs with his brother to get by.  He recalls what it was like to walk into the locker room as a little-regarded prospect out of Alcorn State, an athlete who one year earlier thought his future was in high jump rather than football, and why he would have never made the team without the support of General Manager Ron Wolf.
 
With the help of his winning speed, skill, not to mention, smile, Driver became one of Brett Favre's most-trusted targets and a fan favorite at Lambeau. (Though it took some time for him to perfect his Lambeau leap.)  Driven takes you inside the locker room with Favre, shares his experiences with Reggie White, and recalls his more recent role as a veteran leader for like Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings during their Super Bowl run in 2010. Over 14 years Driver has been through it all—game winning touchdowns, crushing playoff defeats, frightening injuries, and the glory of the Super Bowl.
 
Traveling off the field, Driver discuss his relationship with his wife and three children: how uncertain they were when he undertook  the relentless training necessary to become a champion on the 2012 season of Dancing With the Stars, and how supportive they are of his charity work and service to God.
 
Driver retired on his terms after 14 years in the NFL: as a Packer for life. Driven is the definitive story of Donald Driver’s extraordinary journey.
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About the author

DONALD DRIVER was a receiver for the Green Bay Packers NFL franchise, where he played from 1999 until 2012.  He holds the all-time team record for receptions and receiving yards. He lives in Flower Mound, Texas with his wife, Betina, and his son and two daughters. A role model on and off the field, Driver is a Super Bowl champion and has received multiple honors for his service to the community, including the charity he started with his wife in 2004 to provide assistance for homeless mothers and underprivileged children.
 
donalddriver80.com
 
PETER GOLENBOCK is the author of eight New York Times best sellers.  He lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, with Wendy Grassi, Fred the basset hound, and Chauncey the lion.  
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Additional Information

Publisher
Crown Archetype
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Published on
Oct 22, 2013
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9780385349154
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Biography & Autobiography / Sports
Sports & Recreation / Football
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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"Never die easy. Why run out of bounds and die easy? Make that linebacker pay. It carries into all facets of your life. It's okay to lose, to die, but don't die without trying, without giving it your best."

His legacy is towering. Walter Payton—the man they called Sweetness, for the way he ran—remains the most prolific running back in the history of the National Football League, the star of the Chicago Bears' only Super Bowl Championship, eleven times voted the most popular sports figure in Chicago's history. Off the field, he was a devoted father whose charitable foundation benefited tens of thousands of children each year, and who—faced with terminal liver disease—refused to use his celebrity to gain a preferential position for organ donation. Walter Payton was not just a football hero; he was America's hero.
        Never Die Easy is Walter Payton's autobiography, told from the heart. Growing up poor in Mississippi, he took up football to get girls' attention, and went on to become a Black College All-American at tiny Jackson State (during which time he was also a finalist in a Soul Train dance contest). Drafted by the Bears in 1975, he predicted that he would last only five years but went on to play thirteen extraordinary seasons, a career earning him regular acknowledgment as one of the greatest players in the history of professional football. And when his playing days were over, he approached business and charity endeavors with the same determination and success he had brought to the football field, always putting first his devotion to friends and family. His ultimate battle with illness truly proved him the champion he always had been and prompted a staggering outpouring of love and support from hundreds of thousands of friends and admirers.
        Written with veteran journalist and author Don Yaeger in the last weeks of Walter Payton's life, Never Die Easy presents Walter's singular voice—warm, plainspoken, funny, self-aware—along with the voices of the friends, family, teammates, and business associates who knew him best at all stages of his life, including his wife, Connie, and their children, Brittney and Jarrett; his teammate and friend Matt Suhey; former Bears head coach Mike Ditka; and many, many others.
        Walter made Don Yaeger promise that his book would be "inspirational and leave people with some kind of lesson . . . and make sure you spell all the words right." Never Die Easy keeps all those promises.
The moment I walked out of that tunnel that first time I was in the NFL and saw that 70,000 people, I said, "This is me, this is mine, this is what I was meant to do." Some people get scared that first time. Me? Scared my ass. I was loving it.

NFL superstar Chad Ochocinco is one of the most feared weapons in football, having amassed six consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons and made it to five straight Pro Bowls. And he does things his way–always big, always fun, always outrageous.

Take Ochocinco’s extravagant touchdown celebrations: performing the Riverdance jig, mock-proposing to a cheerleader, tossing presents into the crowd on Christmas Eve, performing CPR on the football, putting on a gold sport coat that says "Future Hall of Famer." Or his sense of style: the blond Mohawk, the gold teeth, the nude photo shoot for a sports magazine. Or his trash-talking: People tell me I have to tone it down. Man, do you know what I’ve been through to get here? You’re going to tell me to stop having fun? Sorry, it’s not happening. Or his unabashed self-confidence: I got six paintings of myself in the living room of my town house in Cincinnati. Why? Because I love me. I’m great and I know it.

In Ocho Cinco, Chad offers his blunt take on his life and career and on the bizarre game–and business–of football. He takes us back to his days growing up in a poor, dangerous section of Miami, where he was raised by his stern grandmother: You want to know how I turned out like this? Don’t talk to me, talk to my grandmom. A high school quarterback, he went to two junior colleges before landing for a single year at Oregon State. From there he was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals, a team he eventually helped lead to the playoffs for the first time in fifteen years.

Ochocinco reveals what really goes on in the locker room, on the field, and in the clubs where so many of his fellow athletes get in trouble. He talks about fights with teammates, coaches, and owners. He offers his honest observations on drugs, cheating, and women: You get all this money and you get all these women at your disposal. . . . You’re going to do your thing, trust me. You’re going to do it. And he deals frankly with his reputation as a malcontent and drama king: People want to be entertained, but the minute you open up about it and have some fun, they bash you for it. They want you to play inside this little box, and if you ever dare step outside this little box you’re in trouble. Well, there is no box for me. I am completely out of the box.

Ocho Cinco gives fans a rare inside look at pro football, presented by a singular athlete who’s not afraid to speak his mind: What I do may be funny, but nothing I do is a joke.
Following a magical season that ended in Super Bowl glory, one of the NFL’s biggest stars delivers a no-holds-barred, hardhitting hitting account of life in the league.

Michael Strahan is one of the NFL’s most talented players, and he is also one of the game’s most vocal personalities. In Inside the Helmet, Strahan exposes all of the pressure, pain, and glory of life in the NFL, venturing into territory no previous football author has had the nerve to tread.

Bringing the reader right into the middle of the action, Strahan recounts exhilarating victories and reveals the hair-raising details of the ruthless grit required for every win. He gives an honest account of the brutality on the field and the myriad injuries from which he continues to suffer. He describes the relationships among teammates (including an account of his well publicized feuding with Tiki Barber), the practical jokes players use to preserve their sanity and the violent blow-ups that occur when the pressure gets too intense, and the challenges of taking orders from head coach Tom Coughlin and his squadron of assistant coaches.

Strahan also writes about dealing with the relentless media coverage, rabid and demanding fans, and the struggle to live up to a multimillion-dollar salary.

Finally, in two new chapters for the paperback edition, Strahan writes about the ups and downs of a truly sensational 2007 season that saw the Giants overcome the odds to win the Super Bowl. For the millions of rabid NFL fans, Inside the Helmet is an all-access pass into the huddle, the locker room, and the minds of the warriors on the field.
In his no-holds-barred memoir, Sapp Attack!, Warren Sapp, one of the NFL's most hilarious and candid personalities, reveals a side of football most fans have never before seen.

Big Man. Big Talent. Big Star. Big Mouth. Big Heart. Big Personality. Big Smile. Big Headlines. Warren Sapp, one of pro football's most dominating defensive players both on and off the field, has a reputation for being bold, brash, knowledgeable, and outspoken. During his All-American career at the University of Miami, 13 seasons as an NFL star, four years on the NFL Network and one very big season on Dancing with the Stars, Sapp has never held back. Now he brings that same fearless attitude to his memoir, a book that will create controversy and headlines; in other words, pure Warren Sapp.

Sapp has won every award possible for a defensive player, but it wasn't just his extraordinarily athletic ability that made him a star; it was also his ability to understand the subtleties of the game. He writes about working his way up from the high school gridiron to one of the top college football programs in the country, to the NFL, and reveals how the system actually works—the behind-the-scenes plays that fans rarely get to see. He'll discuss what it was like to face some of the greatest players in NFL history, including Hall of Famers Steve Young and Jerry Rice, both of whom he put out of the game, and Bret Favre, whom he sacked eleven times during his career. In this revealing, hilarious, and must-read book, Sapp offers readers a look inside the life of one of football's biggest stars and shares his often controversial opinions about the state of pro football today and its future.

Tiki Barber, former running back for the New York Giants and current Today show correspondent, has seemingly led a charmed life. Whether on the field or in front of the camera, the Smiling Giant makes everything look easy. But it has taken a lot of motivation, hard work, and help from those around him to get where he is today.

Here, he recounts his extraordinary life to date -- being raised in semirural Virginia alongside his twin brother, Ronde, by a strong single mother who made every sacrifice to make sure her boys had all the tools they needed to succeed in life; getting drafted in 1997 by the Giants, where he eventually became a standout running back after overcoming injuries and flaws in his game with the help of his coaches and teammates; his stellar 2005 season, when he finished the year with 2,390 yards from scrimmage (the second-highest total in NFL history); and the controversies that marred the Giants' 2006 season, including the surprise announcement of his retirement at the age of thirty-one.

As much as Tiki takes you into the locker room, past the sidelines, and onto the field to give you the view from inside the huddle, this book is also an inspirational look at his arduous evolution from ordinary player to elite -- on the field and off -- and at the amazing people along the way who have helped him achieve his goals. Tiki takes on the role of both the interviewer and the interviewee in special "Tiki Interviews Tiki" sections, as he asks and answers the really tough questions.
Tiki is a riveting, inspiring read for all who want to know what really goes on behind the scenes, and for anyone looking for the strength to step up and follow his or her dreams.
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