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Rams don’t have any concerns about Aaron Donald as he enters ninth NFL season – Orange County Register


THOUSAND OAKS — Eric Henderson, the Rams’ line of defense coach, was thrilled about Aaron Donald signing a restructured deal in June that made him the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history, but there was also a way of relief since it ensured his star defensive lineman was staying for the foreseeable future.

Donald probably wasn’t on the verge of retiring this yr after leading the Rams to a Super Bowl title and used the consideration as leverage to secure the three-year, $95 million contract that essentially replaced his outdated deal. But Donald didn’t must scare the Rams into paying him. They definitely know his value on and off the sphere.

Making the deal now was likely more about not letting the retirement idea linger for next yr and the yr after that for a player who has won “every award known to mankind,” as Henderson put it last month. That’s when Henderson remembered the quarterback-biased MVP award that Donald is missing.

“I need to say that at once, that this guy ought to be the league MVP and it’s unbelievable when it comes to what he brings to the table,” Henderson said. “They make this award specifically it seems for quarterbacks, but it surely’s about who’s one of the best player on the earth and this guy is one of the best player on the earth.

“There’s not a man on this league, I’m willing to bet, that outworks him and he deserves (the brand new contract). So, I’m standing on the table at once for him to be the league MVP.”

Henderson might need flipped the table after he saw Donald was ranked second and never first on the NFL’s yearly top 100 players list.

“How is that even possible,” Henderson tweeted last week.

These days, the Rams have been defending Donald for his actions within the ugly brawl with the Cincinnati Bengals during a joint scrimmage last month. Donald swung two helmets at Bengals players and was disciplined by the team with the main points being kept a secret.

Donald’s news conference on Monday must have been centered across the Rams’ quest to repeat as champions and the best way to contain quarterback Josh Allen in Thursday night’s season opener against the Buffalo Bills.

As an alternative, Donald was asked about being a job model to kids and the way his role within the brawl might need affected that.

“My fundamental focus is Buffalo at once,” Donald said. “I’m completely satisfied no one got hurt within the practice, but my fundamental focus is Thursday night against Buffalo at once. … Everybody protected one another, everybody got out of the situation clean, healthy, in order that’s what matters. (I’m) ready for week one.”

Aaron Donald on the brawl with the Bengals: “My fundamental focus is Buffalo at once. I’m completely satisfied no one got hurt.” #Rams pic.twitter.com/1BW9gMnhjK

— Gilbert Manzano (@GManzano24) September 5, 2022

Donald, 31, acknowledged that he made a mistake and that it was dangerous to swing helmets. Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris said Donald crossed the road and he’s aware that his competitive fire gets one of the best of him at times, but Morris isn’t concerned concerning the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Yr due to the conversations they’d after the incident.

“You don’t need to swing a helmet ever just at anybody generally,” Morris said. “But there’s been some helmets ripped off at times. You never ever need to do those things. You don’t need to have that in your resume. You don’t need to have that on paper. You don’t need to have that as a glance, but at the identical time, those things occur in practices. They’re mistakes, they’re errors and so they’re correctable once they occur at these times.

“He’s been a professional for a very long time. All our young guys understand that. He’s respected a lot in our locker room and the locker rooms across the league.”

Donald’s intensity is partly why he’s been one of the best defensive player of the past decade. Morris, Henderson and Rams coach Sean McVay have been tasked with keeping that competitive fire in check. It’s easy to forget Donald isn’t perfect due to his transcendent football gifts, but Henderson has played a pivotal role in why he gets higher every season.

“Coach Henny is every part,” Donald said. “I feel like adding him to the combination a pair years ago helped me so much, you already know, just from rushing from the run game to different looks we’re capable of do in pass game. … It’s nice coming here at evening time and he’s still here. I just sit down and break film with him. Just picking his brain, picking my brain, just learning.

“Once you got a coach like that who’s not only an important coach, but an important person and who’s hungry to search out ways to proceed to have success. That has made it fun for me to learn.”

It’s tough to search out ways to push one of the best player within the NFL, but McVay is grateful of the tight bond Henderson has created with Donald.

“He’s really developed a culture throughout the culture in that D-line room and every part starts with constructing and developing relationships, with the ability to connect and communicate (and) care about these guys,” McVay said of Henderson. “We’re big believers in you bought to like guys and you then might be tough on them. It’s not the opposite way around. So I do know that he loves those guys. I do know those guys love him because there’s a mutual respect, a mutual appreciation, and all of the labor that he really puts in week in and week out.”

The Rams imagine they were tough enough on Donald for his involvement within the helmet-swinging brawl and his mistakes haven’t modified the best way they view him.

“He’s taught me a lot about being a family man, just watching the best way he loves and adores his wife and his kids,” Henderson said about Donald.

Donald finally addressed the brawl and now he and the team can move forward to Thursday night’s showdown with the Bills. Donald will get an early opportunity to outwork his recent contract by making life difficult for Allen, and Henderson has little question that he’ll outplay this deal, too.

“The guy deserves every penny and more,” Henderson said. “It’s unbelievable what he does for the room and for the league.”


The Rams released their first injury report of the season on Monday and it was a brief one.

Wide receiver Van Jefferson was the one player on the injury report and he was listed as “didn’t participate” due to a knee injury. McVay said Sunday that the team is taking it day-by-day with Jefferson.

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