The Los Angeles Rams are still not sure if defensive lineman Aaron Donald will return for the 2024 season, though the team is hopeful about the prospect. Donald, a 10-time Pro-Bowler, has been considering retirement for several years but has always returned to Los Angeles.

“Definitely hope Aaron is [back],” Rams general manager Les Snead said Wednesday. “I know Aaron is definitely approaching the offseason where he’s doing his normal getting-away, somewhat trying to get revitalized with the goal of playing good football.”

Donald, the 32-year-old defensive star and longtime Ram, has reportedly grappled with retirement for some time now. At the end of the 2021 season, after Los Angeles defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl, Donald contemplated walking away on top but ultimately decided to return. The Rams restructured his contract to make him the highest paid defensive player in football.

After the 2022 season, a dreadful follow-up effort for the Rams, some though Donald might consider retirement again. Donald admitted that he considered it after the Super Bowl victory but had no desire to end on a sour note.

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“Not really, honestly,” Donald said last off-season when asked if he thought about leaving. “You never want to end your career the way how it was last year so it never really crossed my mind. Just trying to do everything I can to get myself healthy to be here today.”

In Donald’s 2023 season, he earned eight sacks and First-Team All-Pro honors for the eighth time in his career. The Rams made the playoffs but lost to the Detroit Lions in the Wild Card round.

Donald has one year remaining on his contract and would earn nearly $35 million if he chooses to return to Los Angeles for the 2024 season. With more than $100 million in earnings over the course of his career, this may not necessarily be a strong motivating factor, but Donald has found reasons to come back in the past and would likely remain a defensive force for the Rams going forward.

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