Aaron Donald Told Sean McVay ‘I’m Full’ After Rams Lost To Lions In Playoffs
Aaron Donald, Sean McVay, Rams
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Los Angeles Rams superstar Aaron Donald announced his retirement from the game of football over the weekend, ending one of the most remarkable careers of any defensive player in NFL history. It will be a big challenge for head coach Sean McVay and the Rams coaching staff to keep their defense afloat without the all-time great.

But it is a challenge McVay was prepared for and has known for quite some time now. There was some talk in previous years about Donald possibly considering retirement, but not long after this season ended with that playoff loss to the Detroit Lions, McVay knew it was the end.

In an interview with Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, McVay revealed that the day after the Rams were eliminated, Donald’s message to the Rams coach made it clear he was done with the game of football:

Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay got that message loud and clear the next day when the all-planet all-timer came into his office as the team was shaking off its playoff ouster in Detroit the night before.

“I’m full,” Donald simply told McVay.

Nothing was official yet. But the coach had all the information he needed.

“I’m just like, And you should be. You have every right to feel that way,” McVay said over the phone Sunday afternoon. “What an amazing thing. The words won’t do justice to the way that he so eloquently articulated it to me and just put it in a way that, as a human being, all you’re really looking for is to be at peace and to be happy. He was full. And, man, did you feel that. You’re just so happy because he earned it too.”

As McVay put it, Donald had every right to be ‘full’ and has earned the ability to be happy and relax now. In just 10 seasons, Donald was a First Team All-Pro eight times, made the Pro Bowl every season, and was Defensive Player of the Year three times. Once he could finally hoist that Lombardi Trophy with the Rams, he accomplished everything he could.

McVay remains hopeful he will still come around the team from time to time, but whether or not that happens, the legend of Aaron Donald will always be within the Rams franchise:

“I’m hopeful that he’ll be around a lot,” McVay says. “He’s welcome. I think the way that he lives on is you continue to honor his legacy and use him with the stories that you can tell to these guys. Fortunately, a lot of these guys have seen it, so when you reference it, they’ve seen it and you can use that as an example. His legend will never go away. There are stories upon stories. There’s evidence on the film. I think the things that resonate the most are usually storytelling when you’re really trying to paint a picture or teach a lesson.

“And he’ll be someone that I reference for the rest of my life as long as I’m fortunate enough to be coaching.”

It is always sad to see an all-time great call it a career, but Donald has done it all with the Rams and can now focus on everything else life offers.

Odds Impact

With odds at +3500, the Rams are positioned well behind the league’s frontrunners, and losing Donald to retirement doesn’t positively impact this situation much, with online sports betting odds remaining unchanged. The San Francisco 49ers are the favorites to win it all, boasting odds of +500, despite the Kansas City Chiefs entering the season as the two-time defending champions, with odds of +650. The Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions, and Buffalo Bills complete the top five contenders. This scenario sets the stage for the Rams to embark on a quest to overcome expectations and claim the ultimate prize in a highly competitive NFL landscape.

Current and former Rams congratulate Aaron Donald on retirement

Of course, the retirement announcement brought about a ton of congratulations from many around the football world, and both current and former Rams players paid their respects.

Current Rams such as Cooper Kupp and Ernest Jones thanked Donald for everything he has meant to them and the organization, while former teammates like Jalen Ramsey and Andrew Whitworth also praised the legendary defender.

Even opponents such as Kyler Murray and JJ Watt took to social media in honor of one of the greatest to ever do it.