Aaron Donald’s training camp program includes scheduled days off, a benefit the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year has earned through his game and earns him a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
However, the Rams defenseman left no doubt about his condition on Friday.
Donald, who’s never shy about showing off his angular physique, emerged from the UC Irvine weight room and spoke shirtless to reporters and cameramen.
Is it harder to get in shape at 31 than at 23?
“I think it’s a little bit easier now,” he said, “because I’ve kind of grown into my body, I understand my body and I understand what I can and can’t do.”
Donald, a seven-time All-Pro, clinched the Rams’ 23-20 Super Bowl LVI win over the Cincinnati Bengals by rushing quarterback Joe Burrow to a desperate throw in less than a minute.
Donald dropped hints that he might retire, and the Rams responded by giving him a contract extension that included guarantees of $65 million over the next two seasons and $95 million through 2024. He is the highest-paid non-quarterback in league history.
Sophomore defensive coordinator Raheem Morris learned how to work with Donald ahead of the 2021 season.
“He’s business savvy all the time until he decides to tone it down a bit,” Morris said. “And when he lets go, that’s when you know you’ve got him, and that’s when you know he’s at his best point that he could possibly be.”
Donald remains at the heart of a defense that already included three-time All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey before the addition of six-time All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner offseason.
Donald has amassed 98 sacks in regular-season games, six in the playoffs.
He said Friday that he’s healthy, strong and “getting into the groove of things” as the Rams look ahead to their Sept. 8 opener against the Buffalo Bills.
The Rams have four more workouts at UC Irvine before returning to their Thousand Oaks facility late next week. Donald will continue to work on his movements and technique and stay healthy and strong.
“Learn, study myself and just try to find ways to improve wherever I can,” he said.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/rams/story/2022-08-05/31-rams-aaron-donald-shape-training-camp Even at 31, Rams’ chiseled Aaron Donald flexes his body of work