Will Rams try to lure Aaron Donald out of retirement for playoff run?

Aaron Donald might be retired, but the Los Angeles Rams are still holding out hope that he’ll suit up one more time.

Rams general manager Les Snead revealed that he’s thinking of a plan to possibly get Donald to return to the team if they make the postseason, similar to what safety Eric Weddle did when they won the Super Bowl in 2021. 

“I did mention to Aaron that going back to our Super Bowl run, that there was a player by the name of Eric Weddle, who kind of jumped into the playoffs, and we signed him to the practice squad,” Snead said. “We standard-elevated him for four straight games to a Super Bowl championship. So, I did mention if we happen to get to the playoffs again, maybe we’ll circle back and see if the cup’s not quite filled. But that’s just a rumor. I doubt Aaron’s going to do that.”

The Rams’ decision to add Waddle in 2021 came on an emergency basis. They signed the five-time All-Pro following the final week of the regular season as safeties Jordan Fuller and Taylor Rapp suffered injuries that left their status for the playoffs in doubt. 

Waddle, who played for the Rams in 2019 and retired after that season, wound up making an impact. He started in both the NFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl, recording 14 total tackles over those two games and playing every single defensive snap.

Donald, who turns 33 later in May, was up in front for the Rams’ defense during that Super Bowl run. He had two sacks and the game-sealing pressure in the win, giving the three-time Defensive Player of the Year the one thing that eluded him to that point in his career.

As Donald announced his retirement in March after 10 seasons, Snead could see him having less of a desire to return to the gridiron. He also believes that Donald might view it as a bit unfair that he’d be joining the ride late in the year.

“Aaron’s one of those guys where he’s so principled, he might feel uncomfortable that, ‘You know what, I didn’t go through those other 18 [games] with the guys, I’m not sure [that] I can go through the playoffs with them,'” Snead said. “Not sure. We might tempt him.”

Donald’s comments following his retirement also make it seem unlikely that he’ll be putting on a uniform again.

“I’m complete, I’m full,” Donald said in a social media video in March. “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.”

The Rams prepared for life without Donald in the 2024 NFL Draft, using their first two selections to beef up their defense. They selected Florida State edge rusher Jared Verse in the first round before trading up in the second round to grab his teammate, defensive tackle Braden Fiske.

Los Angeles is hoping to make it to the postseason for a second straight year, going 10-7 last year after it dealt with the Super Bowl hangover in 2022. 

National Football League

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