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Rams’ Aaron Donald insists he’s ‘at peace’ with retiring

Sep 26, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay celebrates with defensive end Aaron Donald (99) as time runs out in the Rams win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Donald continues to fan the flames on his potential retirement from the NFL, telling Brandon Marshall he’s at peace with walking away from the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.

Donald made waves in the days after the Super Bowl, when Sports Illustrated published a story that the end of his football career could be near — or now. That was soon followed by reports Donald was angling for a new contract with desires of reaching QB salary territory of more than $40 million per season.

“It ain’t about the money, but it’s a business at the end of the day,” Donald said on the ‘I Am Athlete Podcast with Brandon Marshall’. “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.”

He acknowledged that they “probably” will work out a deal, “but if not, I’m at peace.”

“But again, it’s still a business,” he said. “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 either way.”

Donald, 31, has three seasons remaining on a six-year, $135-million deal he signed in August 2018 and is set to receive a combined $37.25 million in base salary over the next three seasons. The 13th player selected in the 2014 draft, he’s a seven-time All-Pro for the Rams and has been named NFL Defensive Player of the Year three times.

When asked about Donald’s absence at OTAs last week, Rams coach Sean McVay there was no cause for worry. Donald, as is typical, has been training on his own in Pittsburgh near family.

“He’s done a great job of communicating, with my relationship with him, and he gets a chance to spend time with his family right now, so I feel good about that,” McVay said.

Donald has 98 sacks in his eight NFL seasons, posting 12.5 sacks in 2021. He also said last week he signed with Kanye West’s marketing firm as a business decision.

“But me talking about retirement, that was happening way before we won a Super Bowl,” he said. “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. 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.”

–Field Level Media