ARIZONA CARDINALS

Aaron Donald announces retirement after 10-year career with Rams

Mar 15, 2024, 9:43 AM | Updated: 9:58 am

LOS ANGELES (AP) β€” Defensive lineman Aaron Donald has announced his retirement after a standout 10-year career with the Los Angeles Rams.

The three-time AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year made his surprising announcement on social media Friday.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was among the many across the NFL landscape to react to the news.

The 32-year-old Donald spent his entire career with the Rams, who drafted him in the first round in 2014. He was selected for 10 Pro Bowls and eight All-Pro first teams, and he won the award as the league’s top defensive player in 2017, 2018 and 2020.

Although smaller than many top defensive tackles, Donald used his extraordinary athleticism and game savvy to wreak havoc on offenses throughout his career. He was the cornerstone of every Rams defense during his career, drawing habitual double-teams away from his teammates and still racking up a franchise-record 111 sacks, third among active players.

Donald reached the peak of his stardom after the Rams franchise moved from St. Louis back to Los Angeles in 2016. He had a career-high 20 1/2 sacks in 2018 on the way to his first Super Bowl appearance.

He then played a major role in the Rams’ run to a Super Bowl victory three years later, most famously applying the pressure that forced Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow to throw incomplete at midfield on the Bengals’ final play of Los Angeles’ 23-20 victory.

Lawrence Taylor and J.J. Watt are the only other players to win the defensive player of the year award three times.

Donald was slated to make over $34 million this season under the terms of a contract that was renegotiated nearly two years ago. Although Donald had reportedly flirted with retirement for the past two seasons in private, the Rams and Donald hadn’t publicly acknowledged his departure was a real possibility.

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