Are we witnessing the final curtain call for Aaron Donald?
The Los Angeles Rams star has taken in courtside seats at NBA games (recently for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday, May 29), moved to a $17 million home and, mentioned in this Heavy on Rams story from Monday, May 30, struck a new partnership with Grammy winner/businessman Kanye West — all while enjoying the life of being a Super Bowl champion.
But with the perennial Pro Bowler and three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year winner not appearing in any team-related functions since the Rams’ Super Bowl parade, and with talks of a new contract extension still up in the air, the burning question is being asked: Is retirement really on the table now more than ever?
Donald Would be ‘at Peace’ With Decision
Donald addressed his future on the “I Am Athlete” podcast released in its entirety on Sunday. Sitting in a room with former NFL Pro Bowlers Brandon Marshall, Adam “Pacman” Jones and LeSean McCoy, Donald dove into where things stand between he and the only NFL franchise he’s played for.
The 31-year-old, who celebrated his birthday on May 23, has indicated a new deal is what can persuade him to give it another go with the Rams. But if there’s no deal in place, Donald insists he will not leave on bitter terms, but be in a state of peace.
“I was blessed to play this game, to make the money I made, the accomplishments I made in eight years is, like, I’m complete. If I can win another one, that’s great. But if not, I’m at peace,” Donald said.
Donald adds he and the champs will “probably” work out a deal, but if one can’t be reached, he will not leave “mad.”
‘I’ll be Fine Regardless’
There has been online chatter of the kind of deal Donald is deserving of by analysts. One in particular is Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus, who called for a $60 million extension.
But he denies the money is what will entice him to return.
“It ain’t about the money, it’s a business at the end of the day,” Donald said. “That’s what you’ve got to see. For me, it’s about winning. I don’t want to play football if I can’t win anyway, so I feel like…if I got a real opportunity to win another Super Bowl, then it makes sense to play. But again, it’s still a business. We’ve got to handle the business side of things, and if that wasn’t to get handled then, you know, it is what it is type of situation. I’ll be fine regardless.”
Donald added this other telling layer: The “retirement talk” was happening “way before” the Rams hoisted the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
“But me talking about retirement, that was happening way before we won a Super Bowl. I’ve been saying that since I got into the league that I was going to play eight years and be done. That’s just what I’ve been saying,” Donald said. “It just came out and then everybody think that, ‘Oh, he said if he wins a Super Bowl he’s going to retire.’ Nah, I got teammates, coaches, my family who know about this. I said I’m going to play eight years, and I’m going to probably be done playing football.”
Donald has posted his 441 tackles, 285 solo stops, 150 tackles for a loss and 98 career sacks all in an eight season span according to Pro Football Reference. However, he admits winning his first Super Bowl has altered things.
“But winning a Super Bowl, you get kind of a little addicted to it. I want to feel that again,” Donald said. “I ain’t going to lie, that experience is like none other. If I was to play, it’s just to win another Super Bowl, but at the end of the day, it’s still a business and it got to make sense to me and my family.”