Aaron Donald feels no excitement about facing his hometown team | ultragr


Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald grew up in Pittsburgh. He was a Steelers fan. His family was full of Steelers fans. He played college football at Pitt, which shares a stadium and practice facility with the Steelers.

Donald and the Rams host the Steelers in LA for the first time on Sunday. He was asked Thursday if he felt any emotion about playing for the Steelers for the third time in his career.

“Not really,” Donald told reporters. “I was just talking to my dad like last week about playing for the Steelers this week. He asked me: ‘You can play for your hometown, how does it feel?’ I was like, ‘My first year (in 2015) I was excited about it.’ Obviously coming back to Pittsburgh (in 2019), it was exciting, but now it’s just like, it’s great to play against the team that I grew up with and all that, but it’s just another week. (I want to) find a way to be successful, try to find a way to win this game, but there’s no extra excitement this time against the Steelers, just another week.

There should be a little extra excitement. Donald never beat the Steelers. He played well in both games, getting a sack in each and securing the Rams during the 2019 game in Pittsburgh.

“We all grew up big Steelers fans,” Donald said of his family. “I still consider myself a Steelers fan, of course, until we played them. I keep checking to see if they are doing well. I’m still a Steelers fan myself until we suit up and play against them. So the whole family is still Steelers fans, but more Rams fans now, but it’s pretty cool.”

Donald still sees plenty of Steelers players in the offseason while Donald works out at Pitt’s facility. He said he sees Steelers players work out during the offseason.

“I see those guys a lot. (I see Coach Tomlin there. So yeah, it’s pretty cool.)

And even if he won’t admit it, it adds something extra. They play once every four years. It will likely be the last time he plays with them as a member of the Rams.

After Super Bowl LVI, when Donald was considering retirement, there was a belief in league circles that Donald wanted to return to the Pittsburgh area at some point in his career. He was asked Thursday if he sees himself finishing his career with the Steelers.

“Not really,” said Donald. “I never thought of that. I never thought about it, but no, no.”

So during all those offseason months in Pittsburgh, he never thought about playing in Pittsburgh and regularly working out around Steelers players? He never thought about playing for the Steelers when his family is full of Steelers players?

Fine. He never thought about it. Lots of others have. And whether it’s the Steelers or some other team around Pittsburgh, ever since Donald got his lone Super Bowl ring, it’s been a given that he could end up playing a lot closer to his hometown in time.

If not in it.

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