Aaron Donald is best remembered for his time with the Los Angeles Rams. Prior to this, he was a standout player at the University of Pittsburgh, where he was named to the All-American team unanimously. Donald won Super Bowl LVI with the Rams in 2022 and is widely regarded as one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history.
Aaron signed a six-year, $135 million deal with the Rams in 2018. His $135 million contract includes an impressive $87 million guarantee. This contract made him the highest-paid defensive player in league history at the time, a record that has since been surpassed by the Steelers’ $28 million payment to T.J. Watt.
Aaron Donald earned $40 million in salary and endorsements between June 2018 and June 2019.
Childhood and High School
Aaron Donald was born on May 23, 1991, in the Lincoln-Lemington-Belmar neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to a working-class family. He attended Penn Hills High School as a teen, where he played football. Donald had 63 tackles and 11 sacks in his senior season.
A career in Higher Education
Donald committed to the University of Pittsburgh after turning down scholarships from Akron, Rutgers, and Toledo. He appeared in all 13 regular-season games for the Pittsburgh Panthers as a reserve defensive end, recording 11 tackles. Donald then had his breakout season as a sophomore, when he was promoted to the starting lineup and recorded 47 tackles and 11 sacks.
He improved even more as a junior, recording 64 tackles and being named to the Big East’s first team. Finally, with 59 tackles and 11 sacks as a senior, Donald was one of the most productive defensive players in the NCAA. As a result, he was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and was named to the All-American team unanimously.
Rams of St. Louis
The St. Louis Rams selected Donald in the first round with the 13th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He made his regular-season debut in a 6-34 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in September of that year. Donald had three tackles and his first NFL sack in the following game, a 19-17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In October, he made his first NFL start against the San Francisco 49ers in a loss.
Donald had 47 tackles and nine sacks in 16 games during his rookie season. For his efforts, he was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Donald started the 2015 season as a defensive tackle and had nine tackles and two sacks in a win over the Seattle Seahawks in the season opener. He was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for the first time for his performance. In Week 14, Donald earned his second NFC Defensive Player of the Week award after recording a career-high three sacks in a win over the Detroit Lions. He was named first-team All-Pro after finishing his second season with the Rams with 69 tackles and 11 sacks.
2016-2018 Los Angeles Rams
The Rams relocated to Los Angeles for the 2016 season. Donald had a rocky start to the season, as he was dismissed from the season opener in the fourth quarter for making improper contact with a referee.
He was penalized roughly $21,000 for unsportsmanlike behavior four days after the event. Donald resurfaced a few weeks later, helping the Rams overcome the Cardinals and earning his third NFC Defensive Player of the Week award in the process. He was fined $18,000 for unsportsmanlike behavior during a game versus the Lions, but he soon got himself into more problems.
Donald had 47 tackles and eight sacks in the regular season. Donald had a successful 2017 despite his initial non-participation due to a contract issue at the start of the next season. He was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in addition to his Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro honors.
With the Rams in 2018, Donald had his greatest season yet. In celebration of his 17 tackles and eight sacks in October, he was voted NFC Defensive Player of the Month. Donald later set a new single-season sack record with 19.5 total sacks after scoring three sacks in a win against the Cardinals in Week 16.
In the regular-season finale, a win over the 49ers, he increased this number to 20.5. Following that, Donald was voted a first-team All-Pro and won his second consecutive NFL Defensive Player of the Year title. After that, he helped the Rams reach Super Bowl LIII, where they were defeated by the New England Patriots.
Rams, Los Angeles, 2019-2021
Donald had a strong season in 2019, racking up 48 tackles and 12.5 sacks. In Week 11, he was voted NFC Defensive Player of the Week, and he was also selected for the Pro Bowl. After 45 tackles and 13.5 sacks the next season, he was named to the Pro Bowl for the third time, and he also won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year title.
Donald’s 2021 season was distinguished by poor behavior as well as amazing on-field achievements. He received a $10,000 punishment for choking Green Bay Packers offensive tackle Lucas Patrick in Week 12. He later got into problems for choking Cardinals offensive tackle D. J. Humphries in the Wild Card round.
Donald finished the regular season with an outstanding 84 tackles and 12.5 sacks. He went on to play in Super Bowl LVI for the Rams. Donald had two sacks in the tournament against the Cincinnati Bengals, helping the Rams to a 23-20 victory, their first Super Bowl triumph since 1999, and they’re first in Los Angeles.
Donald has two children, Jaeda and Aaron Jr., with his ex-girlfriend Jaelynn Blakey. Since then, he has married Erica Sherman, a former Los Angeles Rams marketing employee who now works for the Hollywood production studio game1. Aaric is the name of the couple’s son.
Purchasing Real Estate
Aaron and his wife Erica spent $4.7 million in March 2019 for a huge home in a Calabasas gated enclave frequented by celebrities. The Donalds put this house on the market in April 2022 for $6.25 million.
Aaron Donald is a professional football player in the United States with a net worth of $60 million.