Defensive tackle Aaron Donald reported to the Rams on Saturday morning and was a participant in all club activities on Monday, according to head coach Sean McVay.
And while McVay did not make any definitive statements about Donald's status for Sunday, the head coach did say the goal is for the defensive tackle to play.
"He's back here and that's a step in the right direction," McVay said. "I think, like we've mentioned, just getting him back here is the first step and definitely want to try to get him on the field."
Donald attended the Rams' team meeting, positional meetings, and the workout on Monday. McVay said he didn't want to make a "big deal" out of Donald's return, and went about the team meeting as he would have otherwise.
"You're showing some of the things that guys did great on special teams, defense, and offense, guys supporting each other — that was really what the team meeting entailed," McVay said.
While Donald reported to the club over the weekend, McVay said Donald did not want to be a distraction to what was going on with the team. And that's why he did not attend the 46-9 victory over the Colts.
As the Los Angeles Rams prepare to face the Indianapolis Colts, revisit the best photos from their 2017 matchup when the Rams defeated the Colts 46-9.
"That was the first thing that he mentioned himself, because he realized how important it was for us to kind of take a step in the right direction," McVay said. "And that's what he wanted for his team.
"And I think that's what you like about Aaron, is he's all about football," McVay continued. "He just wants to get here, get a solution to this, and get back with his teammates and compete and play the game that he loves. And that's the impression I get from the interactions I've had with him."
McVay, however, did confirm a report that he was part of the Rams contingent — including EVP of football operations Kevin Demoff, general manager Les Snead, and senior assistant Tony Pastoors — that went to Atlanta to meet with Donald's representation prior to the fourth preseason game at Green Bay. McVay said his only purpose was to help illustrate just how important the Rams see Donald as a part of helping them win.
"I thought it was something where you feel like, 'What can you do to be a part of the solution?' And we thought that was a good decision," McVay said. "It didn't take away from anything we were doing in the Green Bay game. Our players knew exactly that — they knew that I had done that. And I think, like we talked about, if you feel like you can have an outcome that's favorable for what we're trying to get done in terms of this Aaron situation, I wanted to do what I could control to try to be a part of that solution."
But now that Donald has reported, the plan is to get him back to being one of the premier defensive players in the league as quickly as possible. Tuesday is the players' day off, but Donald is slated to go through the normal process of team activities from Wednesday on through the rest of the week. If he will play — and how much — will be determined in conjunction with head trainer Reggie Scott.
"The plan is get him going just back into the flow of a normal weekly rhythm like all of our players do. He's back here with us now and looking to get him going," McVay said. And as far as how he'll be utilized in this game and kind of exactly what that plan entails is going to be predicated on how he feels going out to practice and getting involved. And those will be things that Reggie, myself, and the rest of our coaching staff will discuss as far as how he's feeling."
PAIR OF CONTRACT EXTENSIONS
Los Angeles has signed a pair of players to contract extensions: punter Johnny Hekker and defensive lineman Ethan Westbrooks. Hekker's two-year contract extension keeps him with the club through the 2022 season, and Westbrooks' one-year extension keeps him signed through 2018.
"Being able to get a player of Johnny's caliber — you get around Johnny, he's a special person, he's a special player," McVay said. "He's been very productive — an All-Pro player the last couple years. And then what he brings to the locker room matches up with the production you see on the field in terms of the leadership, the intangibles.
"And then Ethan's a guy that I've been very pleased with," McVay added of Westbrooks. "I think, really, in the last couple weeks you've seen him turn it on. Thought he made a handful of plays where he played with power and was a physical force on the inside for us. And glad to get those two guys taken care of."
McVay was asked if signing Hekker and Westbrooks to extensions was part of a larger plan in relation to a possible contract for Donald. And while McVay isn't necessarily intimately involved in managing contracts and the cap, he recognizes the importance of the front office having a big-picture outlook for the organization. So it's not just about the defensive tackle.
"I think there's a handful of guys that are very important people to us that are coming up on the end of their contracts," McVay said. "So you always have a big-picture perspective in mind when you do things like this. But the first thing is, we valued those two players and wanted them to be a part of this for years to come. So that's the first thing."
"But anything that you do, I think Tony, Les, and Kevin, they do an excellent job of kind of having a long-term vision in mind for how we want to set things up and then what that allows us to do with the way the cap is structured to try to, first and foremost, take care of your own," McVay continued, "because there's a handful of guys on our roster that have been here, that were draft picks, or that have been here a handful of years that you want to reward and you want to make sure they're Rams for a long time because of the way that they do things."
The Rams came out mostly healthy from Sunday's win over the Colts, and the club received good news on cornerback Kayvon Webster. He left the matchup with a shoulder injury and did not return.
"He's going to be day-to-day. It's something that we're monitoring, his shoulder. And he'll be questionable just over the next couple of days," McVay said. "But came away with some [news that] was positive in terms of something that it's not like you're immediately ruling him out.
"We're optimistic, and I think that it's going to be a situation where Reggie and his staff are going to be working with him," McVay continued. "And we'll have a better idea on Wednesday, but he'll be getting treatment every single day and we're hopeful he'll be able to play this week."
Webster played 46 percent of the Rams' defensive plays — 23 snaps — before leaving the game with his injury.