LA Rams shell shocked after Aaron Donald's breaking retirement news

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

There was always the spectre of life after Aaron Donald hanging like dark storm clouds hovering on the horizon of the LA Rams' future. Whenever the team's contract with Donald shrank to his final season, he held out to renew that contract for more years, and more guaranteed money. And he had that right. After all, he is All-Pro Aaron Donald, perhaps one of the greatest players in the history of the NFL.

But all good things must come to an end, right? And Aaron Donald is no exception. He has played his heart out, sacrificing all of his time to prepare and perform in the LA Rams defense for another year. His presence not only allowed the team to remain among the best teams in the NFL in the past 10 years, but he always held the highest standards for himself.

Today, he can finally take a deep breath and relax. He is retiring from the NFL. And with it he leaves a huge void in the LA Rams roster that this team might never fill again:

Aaron Donald's football career buoyed the success of LA Rams head coach Sean McVay. It's made GM Les Snead's job easier. And he was one of the crown jewels to a defense that seemed to do well despite a succession of defensive coordinators that included DC Wade Phillips, DC Brandon Staley, and finally DC Raheem Morris. New Rams Defensive Coordinator Chris Shula worked with Donald for years as a positional coach.

But he will not be able to rely on Aaron Donald for his defense:

Aaron Donald was the type of player whose performance elevated that of his teammates. Known as the 'Aaron Donald effect,' he helped teammates tack on millions to contracts to play elsewhere, including Dante Fowler Jr., Leonard Floyd, Greg Gaines, A'Shawn Robinson, Michael Brockers, and more.

It may be that the move of his chosen Defensive Line Coach Eric Henderson to join the coaching staff with USC was the final straw that broke the camel's back.

Aaron Donald's next chapter will undoubtedly be successful. But the sudden shock of his announcement today is a bit... well, shocking. There is a huge tsunami of effects from this news that we must and will address about this earthquake of news. What about the team's roster? Draft plans? Salary cap?

In the end, Aaron Donald changed the game of professional football forever. Now, we have to consider the aftershock of his retirement.

Stay tuned. This story is developing rapidly.