The final score of the LA Rams loss to the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Rounds of the NFL Playoffs shone like a lighthouse on the scoreboard:
Los Angeles Rams 18
Green Bay Packers 32
It was a long game for Aaron Donald, a game that in all likelihood he probably shouldn’t have played. Time had no claim on the football field. But at the end, when it was all over and the Packers had the euphoric rush of adrenaline in advancing to the NFC Championship game, all 18 games and every ache, nick, bump and bruise flooded Donald’s mind. He was sore. He was tired. Most of all, he was disappointed to be denied once more.
Tears came rushing in, filling his eyes. Warriors like Aaron Donald do not walk off a football field with anything left in their gas tank. He was on fumes, and the energy of his emotions got the best of him. This was a moment where the only answer was emotion. There are no words, no actions to move from that spot.
Another season, another disappointment. And yet, the scoreboard was still there proclaiming to the NFL and to the world that the LA Rams would need to go home, regroup, and try again. This was Aaron Donald’s seventh NFL season. Would his eighth season end differently? His ninth?
Or would the LA Rams fail to deliver on the promises of such a talented roster, and eventually the forces of the NFL that buoy bad teams and drag down good teams finally for the team to rebuild from the foundation and try again?
A quick shooting pain reminded Donald that he was not healed.