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NFL Legend Aaron Donald Announces He’s Retiring at 32

Reuters/Mark J. Rebilas
Reuters/Mark J. Rebilas

Quarterbacks across the NFL likely let out a sigh of relief on Thursday as Aaron Donald, the legendary defensive tackle of the Los Angeles Rams, announced he was retiring after 10 seasons in the league.

Donald, 32, will leave football with nearly every accolade he could have ever earned in the sport, including a Super Bowl win, three defensive player of the year awards, and 10 pro bowl appearances—one for each year he was in the league.

He’ll also finish his career with a whopping 111 sacks, 176 tackles for loss, and 543 tackles in total—by far the most in the Rams history. Donald is widely regarded as one of the best interior linemen of all time who’s bound to soon be in the NFL Hall of Fame.

“Throughout my career, I have given my everything to football both mentally and physically—365 days a year was dedicated to becoming the best possible player I could be,” Donald said in a statement. “I respected this game like no other and I’m blessed to be able to conclude my NFL career with the same franchise that drafted me.”

Every snap of Donald’s pro career was with the Rams, who drafted him with the 13th overall pick in 2014, when the franchise was still in St. Louis. He played college football at the University of Pittsburgh.

“Not many people get drafted to a team, win a World Championship with that team, and retire with that team,” Donald added. “I do not, and will not, take that for granted.”

Donald’s Super Bowl win came on February 13, 2022, when the Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals in a thriller, 23-20. Donald’s impact on the game was clear, having two sacks and three quarterback hits, including him pressuring the Bengals’ Joe Burrow on fourth-and-1 with less than a minute remaining—a move that forced an incompletion that clinched the game for the Rams.

In a statement, the Rams Head Coach Sean McVay called the lineman “an elite competitor” who leads by example in a way that’s authentic to him.”

“As great of a player he is, he’s an even better person,” McVay added. “He is truly one of one and epitomizes everything that’s right about sports. I will forever cherish the memories we’ve made and will always be grateful for how he poured everything into this game and into our team.”

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