National Football League
Aaron Donald feels 'complete' amid retirement, says 'passion to play' is gone
National Football League

Aaron Donald feels 'complete' amid retirement, says 'passion to play' is gone

Published Mar. 21, 2024 12:39 p.m. ET

Aaron Donald, who announced his retirement last week, believes that he did everything he could've done in his 10-year NFL career.

The three-time Defensive Player of the Year shared a sense of fulfillment while also acknowledging he didn't have what it takes to go through the rigors of another season in a minute-long video he posted on social media Wednesday.

"I'm complete, I'm full," Donald said in his first comments since announcing his retirement on March 15. "I think the passion to play the game is no longer there for me. I will always love football, but to think about going through another camp and another [17-game] season, I just don't got the urge to want to push myself to do that no more. 

"I'm burnt out, if anything. … I'm satisfied with what I was able to do in 10 years, and I think it's time for me to, at 32 years old, retire from football and jump into the next step in my career, my life, and now it's time to move on."


Donald had contemplated retirement in the past, notably pondering the idea after the Los Angeles Rams won Super Bowl LVI in February 2022. He eventually returned, signing a record-breaking three-year extension with L.A. worth $95 million. 

The Rams didn't reach similar heights over the past two seasons, however, missing the playoffs in 2022 and losing in the opening round of the playoffs this past season. Donald still played at a high level though, recording 8.0 sacks, 53 combined tackles and 16 tackles for loss in 16 games last season.

There was a sense of inevitability among the Rams that Donald, who turns 33 in May, could retire this offseason. He actually told head coach Sean McVay shortly after their playoff loss to the Detroit Lions that he was "full," Sports Illustrated reported. In the hours prior to Donald's announcement, the Rams actually restructured his contract, maneuvering his roster bonus and salary to help open up cap space.

The Rams are now dealing with the difficult task of replacing Donald, who listed his accomplishments in the video to illustrate just how fulfilled he is: "Ten years, 10 Pro Bowls, eight All-Pros, three Defensive Player of the Years, Rookie of the Year, two NFC Championships, three NFC West championships, went to two Super Bowls, won one, lost one."


Get more from National Football League Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more