Aaron Donald has been busy in the Pittsburgh area lately, hosting his annual free youth camp at Highmark Stadium and working as a coach at the 210ths WPIAL Top 150 camp, but he’s still an NFL star after all.
And now he’s arguably the best player in Madden history.
Donald made history as the first NFL player to make the “99 Club” seven times, consecutively, breaking a record set by NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning.
The “99 Club” is the group of NFL players who are rated a 99 by the video game franchise Madden. It’s a perfect rating, and as such, Donald is the highest-rated defensive lineman in the game.
Part of the #99Club for the 7th time.
— NFL (@NFL) July 18, 2023
There have Madden rating roll outs this week, with wide receivers and safeties on Monday and edge rushers and defensive linemen Tuesday. As of now, Donald is one of just two 99s — along with Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson.
Despite an injury-plagued 2022 season, missing six games and missing the double-digit sack plateau for the first time since the 2016 season, Donald is still one of the most unstoppable players in the NFL.
Donald was a first round pick out of Pitt in 2014, following an All-American four-year career in Pittsburgh. He racked up 181 tackles (115 solo), 66 tackles for loss, 29.5 sacks, forced six fumbles and defended 10 passes during his career.
Donald’s senior campaign of 59 tackles (43 solo), 28.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, four forced fumbles and three passes defended rounded out one of the best defensive efforts in Pitt history — and college football history.
Donald, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, has found his name circulating in retirement rumors over the last two offseasons, but he confirmed on social media earlier this year that he will return for the 2023 season.
In nine seasons, he’s tacked up 490 tackles (312 solo), 160 tackles for loss, 103 sacks, 24 forced fumbles and seven recoveries and 18 pass breakups — cementing himself as one of the greats at just 32.
Prior to last season, Donald had earned seven consecutive first-team All-Pro honors — setting himself apart from his peers.