Rams star Aaron Donald retires after 10 seasons

League: NFL

Posted on: 15 Mar, 2024 at 04:38 PM

Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald retired on Friday after 10 tremendous seasons.

Donald, 32, is an eight-time All-Pro and 10-time Pro Bowl selection with the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams. The defensive tackle won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2017, 2018 and 2020 and helped the Rams defeat the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI.

"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 wrote on social media. "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. Not many people get drafted to a team, win a World Championship with that team and retire with that team. I do not, and will not, take that for granted."

Donald recorded 111 sacks to go along with 543 tackles in 154 career games (150 starts) since being selected by the Rams with the 13th overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Pittsburgh.

Ramifications for the Rams are still being determined. Subtracting the dominant Donald from the middle of the Los Angeles defense is only one side of the equation. The Rams are expected to tack on a cap hit of over $40 million combined the next two years -- $17 million for 2024 and $25 million in 2025.

"We are so grateful for Aaron's dedication to greatness and for leading our franchise on and off the field for the past decade," Rams owner Stan Kroenke said in a statement. "He has left his mark on generations of football fans and his accomplishments, coupled with his work ethic and passion, continue to inspire his teammates, coaches and athletes across the globe. It is a privilege to have witnessed one of the greatest players of all time and we are proud that Aaron Donald will forever be part of NFL history as a member of the Rams."

Donald made his presence felt right out of the chute in 2014, recording nine sacks and 18 tackles for loss en route to being named the Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year.

He posted a career-best 20.5 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss in 2018 during a season in which the Rams advanced to the Super Bowl.

Donald claimed his third Defensive Player of the Year award in 2020, joining Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor and J.J. Watt as the lone players to receive that honor on three occasions. The award was first presented in 1971.

--Field Level Media