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Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald hints he could retire before the 2022 season

Matt Johnson

The NFL world was stunned to learn before Super Bowl LVI that there was a strong possibility Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald could retire after the game. Once Los Angeles became Super Bowl champions and he hoisted the Lombardi Trophy, stepping away from the NFL seemed even more possible.

As training camp approaches, the Rams still don’t know for certain if they will have their All-Pro defender on the field again. NFL rumors have indicated that the threat of hanging up his cleats is meant for contract leverage, wanting to become the highest paid NFL player in 2022.

However, even as Sean McVay is confident one of the best players of his generation will return, it’s clear the possibility of retiring still exists.

Related: Aaron Donald ’50-50′ on playing in 2022

During an interview on the I Am Athlete podcast, Donald addressed the retirement rumors and admitted it remains a possibility. Even months after winning the Super Bowl, the All-Pro defensive tackle said walking away from football this summer could still happen.

“I’ll be fine regardless, 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 I was going to play eight years and be done. That’s just what I’ve been saying. … 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.”

Aaron Donald on retiring from NFL, via I Am Athlete podcast

Days after not reporting for voluntary organized team activities, Donald shed light on his current situation with the Rams. He added that his entire focus right now is on winning and he won’t play another snap if there isn’t a clear opportunity to win a Super Bowl.

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The comments suggest that Donald will play in 2022. Los Angeles experienced a few losses this offseason, but it added Allen Robinson and Bobby Wagner. Projected to be one of the elite NFL teams this fall, there is an opportunity for Donald to win another Super Bowl.

  • Aaron Donald stats (career): 226 quarterback hits, 150 tackles for loss, 98 sacks, 23 forced fumbles

If he does come back, he won’t be playing much longer. Donald made it clear he is already happy with what he accomplished and he wants to be healthy to spend the rest of his life with his family. Realistically, there is a chance the 2022 season is Donald’s last in the NFL. If it is, fans will have one more year to watch one of the greatest defensive linemen to ever play the game.