Chris Long seemed to know back in 2014 that Aaron Donald was quite a special player.
Even though Chris Long and Aaron Donald were never technically teammates as members of the Los Angeles Rams, the two defenders did spent plenty of great years together before the big move from St. Louis.
No matter what city the Rams are part of, Long will always be considered a favorite from the fan base for all the hard work put in during eight seasons with the team from 2008-15.
Moving on from Long after the 2015 season was a difficult decision for both parties at the time, but also it was amazing to see the Virginia product earn two Super Bowl titles with the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.
Now that Long has officially called it a career after announcing his retirement this offseason, it will take some adjusting for football fans not to see him on the field, although the decision was completely understandable.
Recently, Long discussed his former teammate with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and in what shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, he seemed pretty confident back in 2014 just how special of a player Donald was going to be in the NFL.
From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
"Chris Long said he knew in summer 2014, before Aaron Donald played one snap with the then-St. Louis Rams, that the former Pitt standout would be as good as he is.“I would like to credit myself with being the first person know he was going to be amazing,” Long said with a smile during Part 4 of this week’s“Huddle Up with Gus” podcast. “We used to joke his rookie camp that he was going to be in the Hall of Fame, but I kind of wasn’t joking.”"
Normally, it sounds ridiculous to give a player like Donald the future Hall of Famer label at this stage in his career since he’s only played five seasons with the Rams, but also this is Donald.
If there’s anything to take away from the previous five seasons, it would be that Donald is one of those rare kind of talents that Los Angeles is beyond thrilled to have part of the picture for years to come.
Between taking home Defensive Player of the Year honors recently for a second year in a row along with setting a career high in 2018 with 20.5 sacks, Long’s prediction from 2014 seems to be right on the money so far.
Unless something crazy or ridiculous happens moving forward, Donald isn’t going to be slowing down anytime soon on the defensive side of the football for the Rams.
Like Long said, the whole Hall of Fame label for Donald back in 2014 may have been received as a joke by some, but his high level of play has become no laughing matter across the NFL.
Assuming Donald picks right up where he left off in 2019, chances are the Rams superstar could be in line to win his third Defensive Player of the Year award for a third year in a row.
And if Donald were to help Los Angeles earn another trip to the Super Bowl next season with the chance to make up for what took place last February, this will only make Long’s praise seem even more realistic.