NFL world shows major love to Aaron Donald in wake of his retirement

David Akerman
4 Min Read
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Legendary defensive lineman Aaron Donald announced his retirement from the NFL on Friday after 10 incredibly successful seasons with the Los Angeles Rams.

As expected, the NFL world came together to pay respect to the 32-year-old. Current and former players alike offered messages on X (formerly known as Twitter), saluting the former first-round pick.

Donald was drafted in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Rams, who were then based in St. Louis. He made an immediate impact in the league, winning Defensive Rookie of the Year honors and earning a Pro Bowl nod.

He wound up making the Pro Bowl every single season he was in the league and also notched eight All-Pro selections (all first team).

The University of Pittsburgh product is arguably the most dominant defensive lineman the game has seen in a while, having won three Defensive Player of the Year awards.

Donald flirted with retirement over the past few years, so many probably saw his Friday announcement coming.

For perspective on how big of a star Donald is, his retirement even elicited a response from Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, who is arguably the biggest name in basketball.

During his NFL career, Donald played in 11 playoff games, none bigger than the 2022 Super Bowl, which he helped the Rams win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

He finishes his career with 543 combined tackles, 176 tackles for loss, 111.0 sacks, 24 forced fumbles and 260 quarterbacks hits.

After a tough 2022 season in which they went 5-12, the Rams bounced back this last season by going 10-7 and making the playoffs. However, they lost to the Detroit Lions in the first round of the postseason.

Despite that tough loss and Donald’s retirement, there’s still lots for Rams fans to be hopeful about. Youngsters like Puka Nacua, Kyren Williams and Kobie Turner all had breakout campaigns last season. They’ll be faces of the franchise moving forward.

The emergence of Turner, who was a third-round pick in last year’s draft, is especially important since he’s a defensive lineman.

It’s great to see that so many people across the NFL world have been able to show Donald love in the wake of his announcement.

The Pennsylvania native is surely very excited about entering the next chapter of his life.

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David is a Miami native and University of Maryland graduate who has experience in writing, editing and video production. He has been following the NBA and NFL for as long as he can remember.