Aaron Donald doubles down on retirement talk

Aaron Donald #99 of the Los Angeles Rams (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Aaron Donald #99 of the Los Angeles Rams (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

Aaron Donald has doubled down on his retriement talk, claiming he may ultimately retire if the Los Angeles Rams don’t give him a new deal this offseason.

Rumors of Aaron Donald‘s potential retirement have been floating around all offseason long. And while he initially claimed he wanted to “run it back” at the Los Angeles Rams Super Bowl parade a few months ago, Donald doubled down on his retirement talk on a recent episode of the “I Am Athlete” podcast, saying he would be “at peace” with retiring if he didn’t get a new deal from the Rams this offseason.

Donald has made it clear that he only wants to keep playing if chasing Super Bowls is on the table, but he also wants to be paid in the process. The Rams can offer him a path to the Super Bowl, and they reportedly were making progress on a deal, but nothing has materialized so far. Donald’s continued discussion about retirement may be a wake call for the Rams to try and get a deal done.

“I don’t need to play football to be fine. 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.

The Los Angeles Rams need to do whatever they can to keep Aaron Donald on their team

It goes without saying that Donald is one of the best football players in NFL history, and he’s only played eight seasons. He’s an eight-time Pro Bowler, a seven-time first-team All Pro, and a four-time Defensive Player of the Year. No other defensive player has accomplished what Donald has accomplished in such a short period of time.

The cherry on top for Donald appears to have been the Rams 23-20 Super Bowl victory over the Cincinnati Bengals a few months ago. Reports came out right before the game that Donald may end up retiring if the Rams were to win, and although they did, he remained non-commital on what his future held.

Donald really doesn’t have anything left to accomplish in his career. He’s a surefire Hall-of-Famer, and while he could chase another Super Bowl with the Rams, he’s made it clear he’s only willing to play at a price that works for him. That’s a price that will most likely reset the market for defensive players.

But that’s something the Rams should undoubtedly be willing to fork over to Donald. He has shown virtually no signs of decline, and he is an integral part of their defense. Without him, their status of legitimate Super Bowl contenders gets thrown in question.

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Donald continuing to openly flirt with retirement may be a negotiation tactic to get the Rams to come back to the table. Even if it isn’t, Los Angeles cannot ignore Donald here. If he retires because the Rams don’t pay him, that’s not only a terrible look for the franchise, but it significantly weakens their team.

Donald clearly is only going to keep playing football if it’s on his terms. It’s now up to the Rams to ensure that he stays on the field for the next few seasons.