“More Than Personal” – Steelers HC Mike Tomlin Pens an Emotional Message to Recently Retired Pittsburgh Native Aaron Donald Raving Over His Work Ethic

Published 03/28/2024, 3:28 AM EDT

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After playing 10 seasons in the league, the veteran defensive tackle Aaron Donald decided to hang his jersey for good. Donald broke the Rams’ record for most sacks in a player’s career with 111. Despite being an LA Rams player, the 32-year-old has gained massive respect from the NFL realm over the years, especially the coaches. One such striking name on the list is the Steelers HC Mike Tomlin.

Coach Tomlin recently mentioned that he had known the Pittsburgh native since he was 18 years old. This allowed him to observe the defensive tackle who has been an eminent part of the football world and his style of working. With regard to the Super Bowl-winning DT’s work ethic, Tomlin couldn’t help but shower Donald with praises. He spoke to the media about the Pittsburgh native’s recent retirement.

The Steelers HC has spent less time professionally with Donald and mostly faced him and the Rams as the opponents. But, irrespective of the on-field dynamics, Mike Tomlin appears to have an emotional message, highlighting Donald’s work ethic and his personality off the field, given the same facility they shared during Donald’s time with the Pittsburgh Panthers football. Recalling the time, Tomlin saw the DT come into practice regularly with dedication and hard work.


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Commenting on the same, the HC said, “I think my memories about him are probably more than personal than impact on the game. I have had the pleasure of knowing him since he was about 18 years old, and I just have witnessed his relationship he has had with the game. I have seen him getting out of his car when it was still very dark in the morning and working solo over the course of a 12-month calendar.”

USA Today via Reuters

The Steelers HC did not stop there. Remarking how passionate and dedicated Aaron Donald was despite his Super Bowl win in 2021-2022 season, Mike Tomlin said, “I remember when when the Rams won the Super Bowl man, it was probably less than a week later, man I saw him getting out of his car in Pittsburgh, PA, with sweats on and his bag, going to work. And I think that’s just indicative of who he is as a football man, and why he’s had the type of career he’s had and impact on the game he’s had.”

READ MORE- How Tom Brady & Patriots Stopped Rams’ Aaron Donald in the Super Bowl? Former Champ Reveals Bill Belichick’s Tactics

For Tomlin, Donald had no secret when it came to football. He showcased discipline and hard work during his entire career and the 52-year-old was “so respectful of what he’s done and how he’s gone about it.” Despite such a remarkable journey has had in the NFL, the player has bid goodbye to professional days and expectedly his moves have left the Rams coach Sean McVay in a crunch.

How do the Rams HC and Co plan to deal with Donald’s absence?

The DT is arguably one of the best ones in the league. His head coach Sean McVay mentioned earlier that he had an “unspoken understanding” with Donald.  They both knew that this would be his last year with the Rams.

“Aaron and I have such a special relationship,” McVay said. “You know being around somebody as long as I’ve been around. When they are savoring moments, they are taking it in and without having to say, there was kind of unspoken understanding that I had that this was probably going to be his last year.


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Thus with Donald’s absence, the Rams HC is trying to take one thing at a time and focusing on trying to find alternatives. Jennifer Bubel of AS caught up with McVay and asked, “How aggressive do you have to be in finding that other passing rusher?” McVay’s answer was a cool and collected one. For the Rams HC, it’s very important to find a good pass rusher and he is looking up to the upcoming draft for the opportunity.

“You don’t want to just say okay we we we lost Aaron Donald now we’ve got to go address this position. You want to be able to still continue to find the right kinds of people that they can influence and effect positive change force in the rush like you mentioned whether that’s from the edge from the interior parts there’s a bunch of different ways to influence and affect the quarterback.”


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For now, the Rams, though missing Donald majorly would have to learn to play without him and find a neat prospect going forward in the future as the competition for the 2024 season just seems to be multiplying each day.

READ MORE- Hated Tom Brady For ‘2 Years’, Retired Aaron Donald Reveals Respectful Exchange Despite Rams Losing the Super Bowl to the Patriots


Written by:

Abhinav Prakash


One take at a time

Abhinav Prakash is an NFL Writer at EssentiallySports. He covers several aspects of the game, more specifically core sports events. Abhinav has also covered Taylor Swift in great detail, apart from these stalwarts.
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Edited by:

Aazima Basharat