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Aaron Donald announces his retirement from the NFL

PITTSBURG—Widely considered one of the greatest players not only of his generation but also in the history of the National Football League, Pitt's Aaron Donald called it a career.

The former Pitt star announced his retirement Friday, ending one of the most decorated and dominant careers the game has ever seen.

Selected by the Rams in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft (13th overall), Donald has more than lived up to the high expectations placed on a first-round draft pick. Over the course of 10 professional seasons, he became one of only three players in league history to win three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards. Donald was one of six unanimous picks for the 2010 NFL All-Decade Team.

Despite a slew of blocking schemes – some legal and others using the good old holding game – he compiled an incredible 111 sacks. He had at least eight sacks in 8 of his 10 NFL seasons.

Donald led the Rams to two Super Bowls and clinched his team's victory in Super Bowl LVI by smothering Cincinnati's Joe Burrow, forcing the final miss in a 23-20 victory in Los Angeles.

Reflecting his high status in the NFL, Donald played a memorable role in the “The 100 years game” commercial.

A native of western Pennsylvania, Donald played at Penn Hills High School, earning first-team All-State Class AAAA twice, before enrolling at Pitt in 2010. He was an immediate contributor for the Panthers and, over the next four seasons, compiled an incredible 66 tackles for loss, the most for an FBS interior defensive lineman (and fourth regardless of position) since 2000, when the NCAA began tracking this statistical.

As a senior in 2013, Donald was an unstoppable force. He led the nation with 28.5 tackles for loss and added 11 sacks, four forced fumbles and a blocked extra point. At the end of the season, Donald was named a unanimous first team All-American and winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, Chuck Bednarik Award, Outland Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award, making him one of most decorated players in Pitt history.

The ground floor of Pitt's Duratz Sports Complex practice facility was renamed the “Aaron Donald Football Performance Center” in 2019. The recognition came after Donald made a seven-figure financial commitment to the Pitt Football Championship Fund, which serves the program in these key areas. such as facility improvements, recruiting, technology and student-athlete development. It was the largest donation ever made by a Pitt football scholar to the program.

“It was a dream come true to play for the University of Pittsburgh,” Donald said. “My experience as a Panther is something that influences my life every day and I want to pay it forward.

“Pitt will always be my school and I am honored to be able to support the Blue and Gold.”

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