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Pitt Legend Aaron Donald Hosts Another Successful Skills Camp

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Pitt legend Aaron Donald

Aaron Donald has brought his ‘Living in the Pocket Skills’ camp to Highmark Stadium five years in a row, and it’s only gotten better over time.

That’s due in large part to the impact of the AD99 Solutions Foundation, which has a goal of helping the most vulnerable youth in Pittsburgh. That goal, “is to change the trajectory of Pittsburgh’s most vulnerable youth by providing necessary resources in a free, safe environment where they can be empowered to excel academically, socially, and athletically.”

So, of course, Donald does what he can in the community. And on the football field. It’s all about giving back to the local kids in the area.

“Every single year I feel like the camp gets a little better,” Donald said Saturday at Highmark Stadium. “To be able to see some of the same kids that have been coming out here since Day 1, seeing ‘em grow from being this small to this big now, that’s what it’s about. Like I said, just being a positive role model, able to help the youth and be a positive look to these kids, someone they can look up to and motivate them.”

Donald works closely with Dee Brown and 2Tenths Speed and Agility Training to run the camp. Brown, who has worked with Donald since his days at Penn Hills, is one of the most renowned trainers in the area.

But the ‘Living in the Pocket’ camp also requires counselors. And for the fifth edition of the camp, Donald recruited the likes of Damar Hamlin, James Conner, Michael Brockers and Morgan Fox to help coach the kids up. It’s the least he could do as a local kid himself.

Donald grew up in Pittsburgh and lived in the Lincoln-Lemington-Belmar neighborhood in the northeast corridor. He starred at Penn Hills in the late 2000s before emerging as one of the best defensive tackles in college football at Pitt. He’s a true representation of the city.

But while athletics are important, the ‘Living in the Pocket’ camp — and AD99 Solutions — is focused on giving local kids a way to succeed without relying on athletics.

“Just to have success beyond sports, obviously we’ve got athletes, but it’s way bigger than sports,” Donald said. “We want to see our kids continue to go to college and have success in whatever they dream about, whatever they want to do in life to be a positive role model and do whatever we can to help them live out their dreams. We’re just trying to do our part to help our kids do great things.”

It was a successful weekend for Donald and AD99 Solutions, hosting dozens and dozens of local kids for yet another camp.

Donald officially announced his retirement from the NFL on March 15, and it was the conclusion of one of the greatest careers in NFL history — a first-ballot Hall of Fame legacy and a legitimate claim as the defensive football player of all time.

Donald was a first round selection 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.

In 10 seasons in the NFL, he racked up 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 in just 10 seasons.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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