Aaron Donald and the Los Angeles Rams’ defensive front reached Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow seven times in Super Bowl LVI. Donald hit Burrow three times, sacking him twice. Only teammate Von Miller matched the dominating lineman’s efforts. Meanwhile the Bengals only reached Rams quarterback Matt Stafford twice all game.
But once the celebrations died down, reports swirled that Donald could call it quits at his NFL peak. However, Donald elected to return to the gridiron for another run at glory. The Rams later signed the tackle to a three-year deal worth $95 million that runs through the 2024 season.
Now at training camp, Donald speaks with NFL Network’s Andrew Siciliano and Maurice Jones-Drew about what nearly derailed his return. Donald wasn’t the only Rams figure pondering walking away from the game. Head coach Sean McVay mulled over multiple offers following John Madden’s footsteps, joining the television booth upon reaching the pinnacle of the sport.
Had McVay ultimately left the sideline, Donald says his decision immediately changes, too. The tackle offers, “Not at all. Not at all,” in response to the hypothetical. Donald continued, “I want to continue to build my legacy with him. As long as he’s here and I got the ability to still play at a high level, I’m going to be here. When he’s gone and it’s all said and done, that probably will be when I’m hanging it up, too.”
Aaron Donald, Rams Possess Unique Opportunity to Repeat
Upon winning a Super Bowl, some teams use the success as an opportunity to dramatically overhaul the roster. Cutting costs, reshaping for the future, ownership has ultimately pleased the eager fan base. That isn’t close to the route the Rams opted to travel.
With a devastating knee injury preoccupying Odell Beckham Jr., the club turned to Allen Robinson in free agency. The squad also used the draft to improve certain depth, but without a major need, didn’t suffer from not drafting until the third round.
With a daunting defense, the loss of Von Miller stings. But the free agency addition of Bobby Wagner from the Seattle Seahawks certainly helps in recovery. Extending Stafford and Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp also helps in solidifying the future of football in Los Angeles.
Positioned to compete again in 2022, the Rams possess one of the best shots at repeating championships; a feat unattained since Tom Brady did it with the 2003 and 2004 New England Patriots.