3 irresistible Rams scenarios that could lure Aaron Donald out of retirement

Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams
Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

When the news broke about LA Rams All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald's decision to retire from the NFL, the five stages of grieving were apparent among Rams fans. Those five stages are: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. While the pattern is frequently a series of steps that begin in the denial phase, and end up at acceptance, there are occasions when some fans react with anger, bargaining, or even depression as the initial response.

And that's okay too.

But a recent podcast of the Rich Eisen show featured Rams GM Les Snead after the 2024 NFL Draft. During the very informative interview, Les Snead let it slip that he planned to circle back to communicate with Aaron Donald later in the season, perhaps even as late as the end of the season, to ask if Donald would consider returning to the active 53-man roster to play for the LA Rams once more. Even as Snead discounted the likelihood of Donald's return, that triggered a mental exercise for the encompassed scenarios that may be so enticing and irresistible that Aaron Donald could be lured out of retirement to play for the Rams once more.

It didn't take long before I came up with three scenarios that might do the trick. They are:

Scenario III: A key defensive lineman is injured and lost for the remainder of the 2024 NFL season

Even as the LA Rams has retrofitted the team's defensive front to the best of their ability, the focal point of the defensive line's success or failure in 2024 rests squarely on the shoulders of second-year defensive lineman Kobie Turner. As long as Turner stays healthy, motivated, and productive, the defense stands a chance of outperforming its 2023 version. But if Turner is injured, there are no Plan B options for the team on the current roster.

Unless . . .

Would a sudden and horrific void in the Rams defensive line persuade Donald to return to the NFL? That could depend on when an injury occurs, and how successful the Rams had been up to that point. If Turner is injured late in the season, and the Rams are playing well up to that point in time? It could happen.

II: HC Sean McVay begs him to come back

The bond between DT Aaron Donald and his HC Sean McVay is so great that Donald swore that he would never play for another NFL head coach in his career. And so far, that is the case. But what we do not know is how Aaron Donald would react if Sean McVay personally reaches out to Aaron Donald and begs him to come back to the Rams for a limited time.

While this scenario is highly unlikely, it would be an irresistible scenario.

Ultimately, friendships trump all else. If Coach McVay is begging Donald to come back, there will be a very compelling reason for that. How could Aaron Donald say no to his former head coach? Donald will get McVay's back, and that would mean yest in this scenario. But the reasons for the request in the first place would have to be so great that no would not be an option.

I: Rams finish 2024 heading for the 2025 NFL Playoffs

Nothing is more inviting than success, particularly for a former NFL player would would love to become part of that success once more. It was the success of the 2021 LA Rams that persuaded former Rams safety Eric Weddle to toss aside his two-year retirement, dust off the mothballs, and compete in the NFL once more.

If the LA Rams finish or are competing for the NFC West Division title at season's end, would Aaron Donald entertain the idea of coming back to compete once more? I cannot see how he could say no. After all, it was clear that Aaron Donald was having the time of his life playing alongside Kobit Turner and Byron Young in 2023. I cannot see how he would miss out on a chance to compete for another Super Bowl ring if the Rams are in position to play in the NFL Playoffs once again.

Aaron Donald wanted to step away from the game because his cup was filled. But that cup will lose some of its contents throughout the 2024 NFL season as he watches his team compete from the sidelines. How much will it take for Donald to feel the pangs of competition gnawing at him once more? As the James Bond movie starring Sean Connery once said: "Never Say Never Again."

As always, thanks for reading.