Aaron Donald Practices For First Time Since Returning to Team

Ruben Hill
September 14, 2017

The Rams defensive line is considered one of the best in the National Football League, and it will receive a credible boost when Aaron Donald returns to the team this week after sitting out the preseason over a contract dispute.

Rams All-Pro defensive end Aaron Donald returned to the team on Saturday from his extended holdout.

Most players would struggle with that swift transition. The Rams don't know whether he'll have to miss a game.

Head Coach Jay Gruden says while he has familiarity with McVay and how he runs an offense, "we don't know what they're going to run". When asked why he didn't show up a little sooner so that he had a chance to play in Week 1, Donald said: "It was just a decision that, when I was talking to my agents, talking to my family, it just happened". The way I chose to handle it is the way I chose to handle it. Everyone has film, they both said, and neither one of them will be on the field making the plays. He declined to elaborate on his rationale for holding out while under contract to the Rams for the next two seasons, or why he ended the holdout one day before the season opener.

"Just trying to handle the business side of things", Donald said, while wearing a CAA T-shirt that depicted the agency that represents him. The Rams also picked up his fifth-year option next season, paying him roughly $6.9 million, but Donald is hoping to negotiate a new contract that will put him among the highest-paid defensive tackles in the NFL.

Donald revealed no frustration or anger with the Rams, who went through months of respectful negotiations with Donald's agents. The team already played without arguably their best player in Week 1 as they crushed the visiting Indianapolis Colts at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, 46-9. "Especially when you look back and see where we came from there".

"He's back here and that's a step in the right direction", McVay said Monday. "They're very fixable. If they weren't, then you'd be sitting here pretty nervous, but I do feel like, including myself, that a lot of the stuff that we didn't do well enough can be fixed and corrected and need to be".

"I think you try to keep it as much about the game as possible, while there is still the human element and a lot of people that are important to you".

Gruden said Wednesday that the closest experience he's had as Redskins coach to playing the McVay Rams was a year ago when Washington played the Bengals in London. "He was all smiles because he loves football".

Donald participated in practice as if he'll play extensively Sunday, although the Rams haven't decided how many snaps he will get. "I'm glad he's on our team, I'll just say that". LB Connor Barwin and LT Andrew Whitworth rested.

NOTES: CB Kayvon Webster and S Maurice Alexander didn't practice while recovering from shoulder injuries. Los Angeles signed Whitworth as a free agent for a dramatic upgrade at a long-troublesome position for the team.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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