Los Angeles Rams

Rams star Aaron Donald announces retirement after 10 NFL seasons

The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year has called it a career

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One of the best defensive players of his generation is hanging up his cleats.

Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald announced his retirement on Friday, putting an end to a 10-year NFL career.

"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 in a message 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."

The Rams selected Donald out of the University of Pittsburgh with the 13th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He went on to earn a Pro Bowl selection in all 10 of his seasons with the franchise while also adding in three NFL Defensive Player of the Year Awards, eight first-team All-Pro selections and a Super Bowl title.

There had been speculation Donald could retire after the Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals to win Super Bowl LVI in February 2022. Instead, he restructured his contract that offseason to become the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history.

Donald had a down year by his lofty standards in 2022, picking up just five sacks in 11 games. He returned to All-Pro form in 2023 with eight sacks and 53 tackles as he helped the Rams get back into the playoffs.

For his career, Donald had 111 sacks, but the raw numbers do not paint the full picture of his on-field impact. Teams would often have two or even three defensive linemen assigned to Donald on a given play, and sometimes even that would not be enough.

Donald's next stop will be in Canton, Ohio, home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. However, he will have to wait until 2029 to get his gold jacket.

Until then, the 32-year-old says he's eager to share more time with his family.

"As I turn my focus to a new chapter, I don't know what the future holds, but I am excited about the off the field possibilities," he wrote. "I'm looking forward to spending more time with my wife, Erica, and my kids, Jaeda, AJ, Aaric and Aali. The greatest reward was being able to play this game with them by my side, and I can't wait to watch them live out their dreams just as they watched me live out mine."

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