Aaron Donald says 'we won't be having any football' if players don't do their part

Gary Klein, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Football

LOS ANGELES -- Protocols to stave off the spread of the novel coronavirus are in place at the Los Angeles Rams' facility. Players get tested daily. They wear masks and practice social distancing.

Star defensive lineman Aaron Donald is getting accustomed to the new reality. But the six-time Pro Bowl player earns his living in tight quarters along the line of scrimmage.

Once full-speed practices and games begin, keeping a distance won't be an option.

"Football is a contact sport, up close," Donald told reporters Wednesday during a videoconference. "We're slobbering, spitting and bleeding on each other.

"So, we need guys to do what they need to do so we can be able to do our part and play the game. If guys do it the right way -- we'll be fine. If not, it probably won't happen."

Donald, a two-time NFL defensive player of the year, is one of the main pieces of a defense in transition under new coordinator Brandon Staley.


Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey are high-profile cornerstones in what is expected to be a hybrid 3-4 scheme.

During the spring, Staley joked that Donald was so accomplished "he's going to play well if my wife's coaching him."

The Rams are in the midst of a two-week acclimation phase of training camp. Players are participating in meetings, conditioning drills and walkthroughs. So Donald, who has 72 sacks in six NFL seasons, is getting a feel for how Staley plans to deploy him.

"Before we even got here, he called me multiple times and talked to me about certain things he wants to do to try to put me in good positions," Donald said. "I got excited about it."


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