LA Rams 1st weight bearing wall comes crashing down, or has it?

NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams Aaron Donald
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Los Angeles Rams Aaron Donald / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

LA Rams living legend Aaron Donald has announced his decision to retire from the game. And yes, he has earned the right to do so.

DT Aaron Donald, QB Matthew Stafford, and WR Cooper Kupp were the veteran stars who returned after a brutal 2022 NFL season left the team at 5-12, nearly penniless, and with no first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to buoy fans hopes. The team continued to struggle to their Week 10 BYE before they learned how to win once more.

And win they did, finishing the season at 10-7 and competing in the 2024 NFL Playoffs. Even as the team lost in Round 1, they had turned the corner. Success was back.

It seemed as though the LA Rams had a plan, a surefire step-by-step off-season menu to get this team through the 2024 NFL season, into and through the 2025 NFL Playoffs, and into Super Bowl LIX. And then, the earth shook, and fans learned that their All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald had opted to retire after 10 seasons.

2023, apparently, was the last year of DT Aaron Donald in the NFL. So much for those plans to get back to the Super Bowl, eh?

"The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

―Robert Burns, To a Mouse

Well, every great team faces adversity of some kind. Whether it comes in the form of an unexpected retirement announcement just days into the new 2024 NFL season, a heartbreaking injury that ends a vital player's season, or simply investing in players who are not up to the challenge.

Social media exploded. Some to pay their respects an a living NFL legend. Others, to express their grief. Yes, many are grieving. The are Rams fans who just lost the best player on this roster. And they are expressing themselves on social media and forums, even now. Those stages are recognizable as one of the five stages of grieving:

  • Denial: It never happened. This is a joke, right?
  • Anger: Why now? Why did he do it?
  • Bargaining: We need to offer him a huge contract or get him pass rush help . . .
  • Depression: This ruined my day. I can think straight
  • Acceptance: Okay. What's done is done. What can we do next?

I jumped to Stage 5 pretty quickly, at least long enough to come up with some options for the team to suture the wound and perhaps restore the roster to a level of NFL Playoffs-caliber once more. After all, how else can this team honor their teammate and comrade? Win one more Super Bowl, send him off like the send-off for Andrew Whitworth. Even if he is not suiting up, he can be in every coach's and player's heart and mind this season.

And who know? The Rams persuaded Eric Weddle to come out of a two-year retirement to win a Super Bowl with his former teammates. Perhaps a great season from the Rams will persuade Aaron Donald to come out of a months-long retirement to do the same?

Jason Fitzgerald, founder of over the cap, seems to believe that the door is still open for Aaron Donald to return out of retirement.

For now, that will have to do.