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Pitt Legend DT Aaron Donald Announces Retirement from NFL



Pitt, Los Angeles Rams star defensive tackle Aaron Donald.

Former Pitt legendary defensive tackle Aaron Donald announced his retirement from the NFL on Friday, ending one of the best careers at his position in the history of football.

Aaron Donald attended Pitt from 2010-13 and starred in his final season, making 59 tackles (43 solo), 28.5 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, four forced fumbles and three passes defended.

This earned him unanimous All-American honors and ACC Defensive Player of the Year. He also secured the Bronco Nagurski Trophy and the Chuck Bednarik Award for best defensive player, the Lombardi Award for the player who embodies the spirit of Hall of Fame head coach Vince Lombardi, and the Outland Trophy for best interior lineman.

While Donald left many years ago, he has supported the program throughout, even gifting a seven-figure donation to the program to open the Aaron Donald Performance Center at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the Southside where Pitt trains. He also trained at the same facility in the offseason and helped players around western Pennsylvania improve on their game too.

The St. Louis Rams drafted Donald in the First Round of the 2014 NFL Draft with the No. 13 pick and he has served as their greatest ever player in franchise history, particularly with the move to Los Angeles in 2015.

He made 10 consecutive Pro Bowls in every year he played, first defensive tackle to make the Pro Bowl in each of his first 10 seasons. He also earned seven consecutive First-Team All-Pro honors from 2015-21 and did so for the eight time in 2023, won three NFL Defensive Player of the Year Awards and is a member of the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team

Many consider Donald to be one of the greatest defensive lineman in the history of football. This is even more impressive considering that he is “undersized” for his position, standing at just 6-foot-1.

He finished his career with 543 tackles (340 solo), 176 tackles for loss, 111 sacks, 24 forced fumbles and seven recoveries and 21 pass breakups — cementing himself as one of the greats at just 32.

Aaron Donald Retirement Post

“For 10 years, I have been fortunate to play the game of football at the highest level,” Aaron Donald wrote. “I’m thankful for the people I’ve met along the way, the relationships I’ve built and the things I’ve accomplished with my teammates and individually.

I would like to thank St. Louis for the love and support during my first two years in the league as a St. Louis Ram, and through my eight years as a Los Angeles Ram. I would like to thank Los Angeles for the love and support throughout my career as well. California has become home to me and my family, and you all made it extra special.

I would like to thank Mr. Kroenke and his family for building an organization that I was blessed to be a part of.

There are far too many people in the organization to thank specifically, but I will never forget the relationships. I appreciate everyone on the field, off the field and behind the scenes that made my job smooth. I know I’m going to miss my teammates and the camaraderie we had in the building, as well as the coaches who will continue to have a lasting impact on me.

Throughout my career, I have given my everything to football both mentally and physically — 365 days a year was dedicated to becoming the best possible player I could be. I respected this game like no other and I’m blessed to be able to conclude my NFL career with the same franchise that drafted me. Not many people get drafted to a team, win a World Championship with that team and retire with that team. I do not, and will not, take that for granted.

As I turn my focus to a new chapter, I don’t know what the future holds, but I am excited about the off the field possibilities. I’m looking forward to spending more time with my wife Erica, and my kids, Jaeda, AJ, Aaric and Aali. The greatest reward was being able to play this game with them by my side, and I can’t wait to watch them live out their dreams just as they watched me live out mine.”

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Cignetti & Friends
Cignetti & Friends
2 months ago

Seems he could play several more years, but hey it’s his call and it’s a shame the Steelers never tried to get him in a trade. They never do for Pitt’s great players since 1976 and Tony Dorsett thru all the great ones in the later 1970’s and into the 1980’s.
Which is kind of hard to do, since there were so many great ones.

2 months ago

Smart man, has enough money and most of his health. Those crying include Heather (no more million dollar donations).

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