Aaron Donald still isn’t saying much about his helmet-swinging


Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald spoke to reporters on Monday, for the first time since an ugly incident during a joint practice with the Bengals that had Donald swinging orange helmets, one in each hand.

He didn’t have anything more to say than he did during last week’s media tour. (Which wasn’t very much.)

“My main focus is Buffalo right now,” Donald said. “I’m happy nobody got hurt in the practice, but my main focus is Thursday night against Buffalo right now.”

He was asked whether he understands it could have been a dangerous situation.

“Yeah, for sure,” he said. “Everybody protected each other, everybody got out of the situation clean, healthy. So that’s what matters. [I’m] ready for Week One.”

But Donald wasn’t protecting anyone when he was slamming helmets against them. He was on the offensive, and he’s lucky he didn’t seriously harm someone, or worse.

Donald also was reminded that he’s a role model, and he was asked if he heard from his kids about the situation.

“My kids didn’t see,” he said.

Defensive coordinator Raheem Morris also met with reporters on Monday. He was a bit more talkative, but the underlying message from the entire organization is the same — it was a practice, no one got hurt, and what do you expect us to do when the guy who did it is Aaron Donald?

“The greatest thing about it is our guys know the difference between practice and the games,” Morris said. “It’s really important to know that. We like to practice like pros, like professionals, practice how we play. The whole thing with it is you never let anybody cross the line. When things cross the line, sometimes things get out of the way. The team disciplined him internally without a doubt. He had a conversation with Sean [McVay]. We take all those things very seriously. [Donald] is very close to the vest kind of guy. I just supported everything that we did with Sean, [Donald] and everything that we had to do to contribute. For me, talking to him is just making sure that we don’t cross the lines when the games go down. That’s my role and responsibility and all that stuff. I think we kind of understand that. He’s been a pro for a long time. I think our young guys will understand that. I think he’s respected so much in our locker room and in locker rooms across the league. I think that we all know what that looks like.”

We all definitely know what it looks like when he blows a fuse in practice. And, frankly, he has blown that same fuse more than a few times during games. Though not to the same extent, Donald has been chippy to the point of being on the wrong side of the line a time or two during his career. His greatness usually gets him a pass.

Morris seemed to realize that Donald clearly crossed the line, even if Morris wouldn’t or couldn’t say it as bluntly as it needed to be said.

“You don’t want to swing a helmet ever, just at anybody in general, but there’s been some helmets ripped off at times,” Morris said. “You never ever want to do those things. You don’t want to have that on the resume. You don’t want to have that on paper. You don’t want to have that on a look. But at the same time, those things happen in practices. They’re mistakes, they’re errors and they’re correctable when it happens at these times.”

A missed assignment is a mistake. A dropped pass is a mistake. A bad read by the quarterback is a mistake. Donald allowed his anger to compel him to do something that should never happen, anywhere. Practice, game, locker room, parking lot. It falls beyond the limits of anything that ever should be deemed acceptable in football, and it’s bullshit (frankly) that the Rams are tiptoeing around it in the name of having him available for Week One against the Bills.

He shouldn’t have been “talked to,” or whatever they did to discipline. (Since they won’t say what they did, we’ll assume they didn’t do much.) He should have been suspended. Everybody knows it. The Rams surely do, too. That’s the only way to make sure every player knows that certain lines can’t be crossed, regardless of whatever lame excuse the player’s team may offer to justify not taking the action that absolutely should have been taken.

The message is simple, and clear as crystal. Certain players are good enough to get away with this. As a result, certain players will do it, from time to time. And when someone ends up with a fractured skull after getting whacked over the head with a helmet swung by a player who believes he’s sufficiently important to the team to not be properly punished for doing it, no one should act surprised.

44 responses to “Aaron Donald still isn’t saying much about his helmet-swinging

  1. ESPN has declared this “ok”……so they won’t pursue. Only person taking about it is Florio (kudos). Same ESPN talking heads that called for Garrett to be literally arrested…..they don’t care about this because they wont take on the LA market.

  2. Most football fans resent the hype up around this. It’s one thing if it’s in a game but we talking’ about practice.

  3. I did the exact same maneuver in Blitz: The League around 15 years ago. Never thought I’d see it in real life but here we are.

  4. So last time I got a parking ticket I mailed a note to the traffic court which read, “My main focus is on the next time I park my car. I’m happy a handicapped person didn’t need to park in that spot, but I’m focused on my next parking job now.” For some reason the judge didn’t buy it. Good thing I didn’t assault someone with a football helmet.

  5. A.D doesn’t see a problem here. No matter how many time you being it up, he won’t. He’s o to Buffalo.

  6. Until Sean McVay himself has looked you in the eye and wagged his finger you don’t realize how much impact that actually has. I’m sure AD is a changed man now.

  7. Garrett was suspended 6 games — Donald should get the same. Practice vs. Game doesn’t matter.

  8. Donald is turning into the KD of the NFL. Nice guy originally, but something snapped & is now going all-bully.

  9. I guess since hes one of the faces of the league he gets away with whatever he wants to. Must be nice and if I were on the Bengals I would be a little mad right now/

  10. Its not easy to turn it on during a game, and turn off the same behavior in practice or in life off of the field. I am certainly not defending it. But let’s be realistic here. Donald (and the Rams) just want this to go away. Donald isn’t going to give people the sound byte they are looking for. And since the team, nor the NFL is going to do anything about it, it makes the most sense for Donald to ignore and deflect.

  11. The less Donald speaks the happier I am. Hope he curtails his anger issues before he gets himself in a jam he cannot buy his way out of w money or talent. Immensely more talented version of Vontaze Burfict.

  12. The story that never ends. Can we all agree that nothing is going to happen to Donald bc it was a camp fight on both sides. Let’s go Rams beat bills

  13. It is simply laughable that the NFL uses the excuse that they have no jurisdiction over joint practices.
    They rightfully punish players for a range of criminal acts that they also don’t have any ‘jurisdiction’ over. This is just a willful and cowardly display by the league, and shows what a fraud they are over player health and safety, never mind ignoring violent and disgusting conduct from one of their ‘stars.’

  14. Its not easy to turn it on during a game, and turn off the same behavior in practice or in life off of the field. I am certainly not defending it.
    Come on Man. It’s easy to turn off the behavior in practice (Ask Allen Iverson).

    Anyhow you claim not to be defending it, but you are making a lame excuse to try and….. what? Explain it?

  15. “He doesn’t have to say anything. It’s not a big deal.” Just because he didnt permanently injure or kill anybody does not make it a minor offense.it is a big deal because it was clearly aggravatated assault with a weapon upon a person or persons. it makes no difference if its on the practice field or on the street its a felony.

  16. Yeah I don’t think he’s going to say anything significant about it, why should he? It’ll just keep a story alive that he wants to die out sooner than not. No suspension or penalty from the team that we are aware of so just let it die out.

  17. What happened to player safety at all costs b.s. Now what if it was a Bengals player swinging a helmet at a Rams player, I bet the conversation from the Ram fans would be much different?

  18. And how does anyone know for certain that no one was injured? I guarantee one of those “Whack-A-Moles” will have CTS in the future.

    The NFL keeps trying to turn itself into the NBA.

    Someone needs to tell Goodell that the “Team” model is why the NFL is king. Not the “superstar” model.

  19. He should have received some sort of punishment,… but it’s Aaron Donald. KARMA will rule on it.

  20. packerlies says:
    September 6, 2022 at 9:28 am
    Its not easy to turn it on during a game, and turn off the same behavior in practice or in life off of the field. I am certainly not defending it.
    Come on Man. It’s easy to turn off the behavior in practice (Ask Allen Iverson).

    Anyhow you claim not to be defending it, but you are making a lame excuse to try and….. what? Explain it?


    Not defending it – fact is sociopathic behaviors that can be successful in football, can also be dangerous off the field. And based on his career success, the Rams don’t want to take him off the field or risk alienating him for behaving this way. So they will ignore it. In most sports, its performance on the field that is rewarded, and off the field? Only if your performance is poor on the field, or if they are forced to do something. No one is forcing the Rams to do anything – so why should Donald say anything that will change that?

  21. “ lollygagger8 says:
    September 6, 2022 at 9:23 am
    Who’s going to go out there and grab them from him?”

    Don’t confuse the most imbalanced player in the NFL with the baddest player in the NFL. There are plenty of guys in the league that could take AD’s lunch money.

  22. Lotta vitrol toward’s Donald and rightfully so I suppose but where is the same for La’el Collins? You know the one who instigated the fight by throwing helmets?

  23. It is a slippery slope and why the NFL won’t touch it, suspend Donald then every fight, thrown punch, cheap shot to the head in joint practices those players should also be suspended for regular season games.

  24. It happens when a 4th round rookie is stonewalling you all day, and you get frustrated.

  25. Goodell is the cheater. Another example of it.

    Kroenke needs to keep paying back the other owners who loaned him money. It’s just that simple.

    Hence, why Goodell doesn’t want to weaken the Rams with a Donald suspension. It’s assault and battery everywhere else in the United States, but not on an NFL practice field.

  26. “Raheem Morris said our team knows the difference between practice and games” so I guess they preach over there that you can swing your helmet at people and it’s perfectly fine.

  27. Wonder if he’d still have nothing to say the first time some young kid leaning to play football, takes off his helmet and stars swinging… emulating his favorite player like so many kids do.

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