Report Details How Close Rams’ Aaron Donald Was To Retirement

Donald submitted his retirement letter to the Rams

by

September 8

The 2022 offseason was kind to Los Angeles Rams fans, but things got dangerously close to turning south following the franchises Super Bowl victory in February.

The Rams reloaded this offseason. Los Angeles added Pro-Bowl talents to both sides of the ball, signing wide receiver Allen Robinson and linebacker Bobby Wagner while also locking in general manager Les Snead and head coach Sean McVay to contract extensions in the hours leading up to its season opener against the Buffalo Bills. But perhaps the most important move they made was agreeing with seven-time All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald to a three-year, $95 million contract adjustment to bring him back into the fold. That move, however, came dangerously close to never coming to fruition.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Thursday that by all intents and purposes, Donald was ready to hang his cleats up. He even sent a formal letter to the Rams, informing them of his decision. But the Rams took one last stab at keeping the greatest defensive tackle in NFL history, according to Rapoport.

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So, the letter was sent to the Rams, and Donald was at peace with his decision. The only caveat was this: The Rams brass, Donald and his agent had a zoom set up the next day to discuss his contract. The letter stayed unearthed until that meeting just to be sure there wasn’t anything they could do. Meanwhile, the Rams were endlessly respectful of Donald, regardless of his decision, simply wanting to know when and how to properly honor him for his stellar career.

Instead, there was a slightly encouraging conversation between Donald’s agent and the Rams and another one was scheduled. And then another. And another. And suddenly the two sides were even more encouraged that an impossible deal could get done.

Ultimately, everyone knows what happened. The most accomplished defensive player of this generation got his whopping contract and the Rams will continue to boast one of the most talented rosters in football.

But for a while there, it looked like Donald would be attending Thursday’s season-opening matchup as a spectator.

Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images
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