NFL Star Aaron Donald Retires: A Look Back at His Remarkable Decade with the Rams

NFL Star Aaron Donald Retires

Aaron Donald was an irrepressibly determined player for 10 seasons with the Los Angeles Rams before leading them all the way to victory at Super Bowl 50. Reliable, persistent and resourceful all at the same time, Aaron led his team all the way.

Aaron Donald Retirement

On Friday, Donald decided that 10 years of dominance were enough.

One of the greatest defensive linemen of his generation has decided to call it quits after an incredible 10-year career.

Three-time AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald made his announcement via social media on March 17. Without hosting a retirement news conference or public farewell ceremony, Donald will leave an indelible mark both within his team and throughout the NFL.

Donald was 32 years old at the time of drafting in 2014 from Pitt University in Pennsylvania. Since joining them, he was selected for 10 Pro Bowls and 8 All-Pro first teams, winning MVP awards twice (2017-18-2021).

“Throughout my career, I gave everything of myself both mentally and physically to football – dedicating every waking day of 2018 to becoming the best possible player I could be”, Donald stated in his statement. He acknowledged how fortunate he felt to end his NFL career with the franchise that originally drafted him – something very few can boast! Not many get to experience what is truly an incredible journey of becoming part of one team’s history while winning world titles along the way; Donald is thankful to have done exactly this and will not take that for granted.”

Although more athletic than most top defensive tackles, Donald utilized his extraordinary athleticism and game savvy to cause chaos on offences throughout his career. A cornerstone of Rams defence during this era, Donald frequently earned double teams while still managing to record an NFL-record 111 sacks while ranking third among active players.

Donald’s stardom reached new heights when the Rams franchise relocated back to Los Angeles from St. Louis in 2016. Donald recorded 20 1/2 sacks that season as they made it all the way into Super Bowl LIII under coach Sean McVay and made history once more!

Los Angeles Rams Aaron Donald

Donald played an instrumental role in the Los Angeles Rams’ run to victory three years later in Super Bowl 56 – most notably by applying pressure that forced Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow to throw incomplete at midfield on their final play and hand the victory back over to Los Angeles with 23-20 scoreline.

After this stop, Donald once more made history for the Rams by donning his helmet, pointing at his finger, and shouting: “Ring me!” His shirtless ride on a double-deck bus during their victory parade is also one of their enduring memories.

McVay made note that great players elevate those around them and Aaron has long served as an example for our team since McVay came onboard the Rams. “He is an elite competitor who leads by example while inspiring teammates around him to become their best versions,” according to the statement issued by Rams’ coach Sean McVay.

Lawrence Taylor and J.J. Watt are the only other two players who have earned three Defensive Player of the Year awards since 1982; only John Randle recorded more sacks among defensive tackles (137 1/2) than Donald.

Aaron Donald NFL career highlights

Donald spent much of his off-field life enjoying life with his wife and four children, yet his undoubted greatness and McVay’s coaching acumen proved crucial in propelling Los Angeles sports backwards since moving back home. Under McVay and with Donald’s help, Los Angeles recorded six winning seasons, five playoff berths, three NFC West titles, two Super Bowl appearances and ultimately won over many cynic fans while simultaneously becoming Los Angeles sports kingpins again.

Donald was scheduled to earn over $34 Million this season under terms of a contract renegotiated nearly two years prior. Although Donald had hinted privately at retirement during recent seasons, neither the Rams nor Donald acknowledged it was an option at any given point in time.

However, in recent months, Super Bowl-winning defensive coordinator Raheem Morris and defensive line coach Eric Henderson both left for Atlanta Falcons’ head coaching job and to Southern California, respectively – two close associates to Donald who are closely connected by these positions.

Aaron Donald Legacy

“We’re truly appreciative of Aaron Donald’s incredible dedication and leadership of our franchise over the last decade,” stated Rams owner Stan Kroenke. “His achievements continue to leave an impactful mark with generations of football fans worldwide; his work ethic and passion serve to motivate teammates, coaches and athletes worldwide – it was truly an honor watching one of history’s great players play for our Rams team – we will miss him greatly!” “Aaron Donald will forever remain part of NFL history a Ram.”

Donald’s offseason training regimen was well-documented to be rigorous. Yet, he took great pleasure from it due to the work ethic instilled by his father, who transformed Donald from being a lazy little kid into an accomplished football player. For Rams offseasons, he would return home and train at Pitt’s Aaron Donald Football Performance Center, made possible thanks to a seven-figure donation made possible thanks to Don.

Donald amassed 543 career tackles, 176 for loss, 24 forced fumbles, 34 tackles and six sacks during 11 postseason appearances.

Donald was also extraordinarily durable, only missing six games due to injury over his 10-year career – all late in 2022 when the Rams had already missed playoff contention.


Rams Defensive Tackle

“He meant so much,” stated 2022 teammate Bobby Wagner of Donald. “Watching him work out was amazing to watch; not many defensive lineman put in as much work on both film room work and on field. Donald accomplished so much during his incredible career and I look forward to what else awaits him next – one of the greats! Great human being and player alike.”

Only Rob Havenstein remains from their days playing in St Louis: starting right tackle Rob Havenstein remains with them as an active Ram.

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