Aaron Donald accomplished everything imaginable in the NFL in his eight-year career, contemplating calling it quits after he helped the Los Angeles Rams win a Super Bowl. Donald ultimately decided to return to the Rams and sign a contract extension in the process, tying him with the franchise for the next three seasons.
When will Donald decide to hang up his cleats for good? Donald, now 31, has a plan.
"If Sean (Rams head coach Sean McVay) ain't here -- I told Sean when he first got here. We came up with some things early and I first told him as long as he's the head coach here, I want to continue to build my legacy with him," Donald said, via NFL.com. "As long as he's here and I got the ability to still play at a high level, I'm going to be here. When he's gone and it's all said and done, that probably will be when I'm hanging it up, too."
Donald already has a Hall of Fame resume, and is looking to add to it in the next few seasons under McVay. He already has three Defensive Player of the Year awards, tying him with J.J. Watt and Lawrence Taylor for the most in NFL history. Donald has made the Pro Bowl in all of his eight seasons, trailing Taylor and Derrick Thomas for the most consecutive Pro Bowls to start a career.
Donald has 98 sacks in his career, the most for a defensive tackle after his first eight seasons in NFL history (and fourth-most by any player). His 150 tackles for loss and 226 quarterback hits in his first eight seasons are second-most by a player in NFL history (and most for a defensive tackle). He also has seven first-team All-Pro selections in eight seasons and is the only player in the NFL with 400 pressures over the last five years.
A top-five finisher in NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting seven consecutive seasons, Donald also already has a Super Bowl championship -- along with 6.5 sacks and 17 quarterback hits in 10 postseason games. He could have retired and already been considered one of the best defensive players ever, but there's more to prove.
"It's always going to be motivation to do everything you can to get back (to the Super Bowl)," Donald said. "That's the ultimate goal. That's what you work for. When you're grinding and out here working right now, that's in the back of your mind. To try to do everything you can to have a great season and try to be the last team standing."