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Aaron Donald announces retirement

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – It is the end of a dominant era.

Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald on Friday announced his retirement from the NFL, marking the conclusion of one of the most decorated careers in franchise and league history.

"We are so grateful for Aaron's dedication to greatness and for leading our franchise on and off the field for the past decade," Rams Owner/Chairman E. Stanley Kroenke said. "He has left his mark on generations of football fans and his accomplishments, coupled with his work ethic and passion, continue to inspire his teammates, coaches and athletes across the globe. It is a privilege to have witnessed one of the greatest players of all time and we are proud that Aaron Donald will forever be part of NFL history as a member of the Rams."

One of only three players in league history to earn three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards, the Super Bowl LVI champion leaves the game after registering 111 sacks in 10 seasons. He recorded at least eight sacks in 8 of his 10 seasons, and was one of six unanimous choices for the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team.

Swipe through the best photos of Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald's full career.

When Donald hit 100 career sacks in Week 3 of the 2022 season, he became the fastest defensive tackle to reach the mark in NFL history. Since individual sacks were first tracked in 1982, Hall of Famer John Randle (137.5) is the only member of the 100-plus sacks club who played the majority of his career as a defensive tackle.

Donald set the Rams' career sacks record in 2021 when he hit 88.5 against the Seahawks in Week 5 that season, surpassing Leonard Little's 87.5. He also owns the Rams' franchise record for sacks in a single season with 20.5 in 2018, a mark that was also an NFL single-season record for a defensive tackle.

Donald registered double-digit sacks in 6 of his 10 NFL seasons, including five-straight from 2017-2021. He was named to the Pro Bowl in each of those 10 seasons, with seven consecutive First-Team All-Pro selections from The Associated Press from 2015-2021 and eight overall after receiving that recognition for the 2023 season. He was also named Defensive Rookie of the Year for the 2014 season.

In addition to those 111 career sacks, he also amassed 790 pressures, 543 total tackles (176 for loss), 256 QB hits, 24 forced fumbles and 21 passes defensed across 154 career games (150 starts). Donald also appeared in 11 playoff games, including two Super Bowls, and notched 34 tackles (19 solo), 6.0 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, 51 pressures, 16 quarterback hits, 34 hurries and one pass defended.

"The great players in our league elevate the people around them and Aaron has modeled the way for our team as long as I've been with the Rams," head coach Sean McVay said. "He's an elite competitor, someone who leads by example in a way that's authentic to him, and an exceptional teammate who inspires everyone around him to be the best version of themselves. As great of a player he is, he's an even better person. He is truly one of one and epitomizes everything that's right about sports. I will forever cherish the memories we've made and will always be grateful for how he poured everything into this game and into our team. He's meant a lot to me personally and to my family."

"There will never be another Aaron Donald," general manager Les Snead said.


Legends Live Forever

Celebrate Aaron Donald's decade of dominance.

Off the field, Donald was involved in multiple causes and community efforts throughout the Los Angeles area, from engagements with the Watts Rams, character development sessions with Operation Progress, to WalkUnited LA with United Way of Greater Los Angeles to combat homelessness, and much more.

Additionally, he has given back to youth in his hometown of Pittsburgh through AD99 Solutions, which aims to change the trajectory of under-resourced youth by providing education and resources in supportive environments to empower young individuals academically, socially, and athletically.

More to come on

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