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Les Snead recalls some moments that make Aaron Donald the competitor he is

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By: Daniel Stone

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Snead shares a few stories with Peter Schrager as they look back on AD’s legacy

Sports commentator, Peter Schrager, recently put out an interview featuring Los Angeles Rams’ General Manager, Les Snead. The bulk of the interview is spent discussing the recent retirement of Aaron Donald. Snead shares a number of stories and feelings during the conversation, but he provides a couple quotes that I think really encapsulate how much of a genuine competitor #99 is and was.

If you have the time, please consider checking out the interview here. I’ll post it below too so you can find it, but I don’t think it will come up. Blame the No Fun League (NFL).

There were two quotes from Donald (shared by Snead) that stood out to me. Conveniently, if you watch the interview and scroll to about the 28 minute mark you will see Snead share the two quotes in a matter of minutes.

Snead, as he often does, gives great context to each quote. For the first one, the GM talks about the Rams speaking with Donald about who he would want to play with. According to Snead, #99 gave an answer that has resonated throughout the organization.

“I’ll partner with anyone, just make sure they care.”

Snead says it speaks to Donald’s mindset on how he wanted others to view the game, and the type of player he wanted to share the building with. The GM does say that AD maybe wasn’t always the quickest to learn a rookie’s name, however once Donald knew you were invested, then he would invest in you. Donald was a true leader by example and charisma.

NFL: St. Louis Rams-Press Conference
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The other quote had to do with the time that the Rams had moved on from former head coach, Jeff Fisher. Apparently Snead, and maybe some others, approached Donald to ask who he wanted or what he wanted in his next head coach. AD’s reported answer did not dissapoint.

“Hey man…seems like that’s y’alls job…just make sure they’re really good, and make sure they get us to where we wanna go, and you know where we wanna go.”

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The interveiw is about 40 minutes and there are ample takeaways including details about when AD knew he was done with the NFL.

I picked the two quotes above because they show that Donald didn’t care so much about who he played with or was coached by. He was more concerned with how much those around him cared about the game he devoted his life to. How much would those around him devote to the game? How much were they willing to sacrafice to win? Did they hate losing more than they loved winning? That last one being a particular quality that Snead once shared about Donald when they were working on extending him in 2018:

“If you get to know Aaron, he’s a no-nonsense [guy], somebody you just respect. As good as he was as an individual … he probably hates to lose more than he likes to win. He’s probably one of those guys,” Snead said. “…that bothered him. That’s important to him.”

Gary Klein put out a nice piece over the weekend, and it too mentions the future Hall of Famer’s hate for losing. Of course, the forever Super Bowl Champion loved to win too, and his desire not to be defeated led to plenty of big time victories on Sunday’s.

NFL: Super Bowl LVI-Los Angeles Rams Championship Parade
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It’s bitter sweet reading these articles and hearing quotes like Snead’s. The sweet factor is Donald was a Ram and he did everything he could for his team and for the fans. The bitter part is obvious. Donald is retiring, and his story as an active NFL player came to its inevitable end.

Whether you watched football regularly or not, you probably heard the name Aaron Donald. He was that level of greatness, he was that level of competitor. He transcended football, and he is one of the greatest athletes in all of sports that we ever got to watch.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams Minicamp
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I look forward to hearing and reading more stories about Donald on and off the field. I look forward to potentially seeing what he does next, but I sure would be lying if I said that I am not sad to see him leave the Rams. I join in with all the other Ram’s fans and writers here when I say best of luck AD, thanks for everything.