Aaron Donald told Rodney Harrison before Super Bowl LVI that he would consider retiring if the Rams won. Harrison’s report about “a strong possibility (Donald) could walk away from the game and retire” created a pregame buzz.
Donald sidestepped questions after the Rams’ 23-20 victory over the Bengals on Sunday, but it was telling that the defensive tackle did not deny that retirement is a consideration.
“I’m just in the moment right now,” Donald said. “I’m going to enjoy this with my teammates, my family. I’m just going to be in the moment and enjoy this today, or for a couple of days. This is a blessing.”
Donald, 30, now has a complete resume.
He already is considered one of the greatest defenders in NFL history and first-ballot, Hall-of-Fame worthy. Donald is a three-time defensive player of the year, tying for the most ever, and he finished third in voting for the award this year.
He has eight Pro Bowls, seven All-Pros, all-decade honors for the 2010s and 98 career sacks. Now, he is a Super Bowl champion, pointing to his right ring finger after forcing Joe Burrow to throw the ball away on fourth down with 39 seconds left.
“Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games,” Donald said. “It’s truly a blessing to have an opportunity to play this game, to play with great teammates, great coaches, a great organization, man. There is a lot of ups and downs, so to see it come full circle and be a world champion. All our hard work up to this game, that’s what it’s for. It’s like mission complete, so it feels great.”