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Rams' Donald: Contract status 'just business'

From ESPN - September 13, 2017

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Aaron Donald held out as long as he possibly could without missing a game check. He showed up Saturday, joined his Los Angeles Rams teammates for film sessions Monday and went through a full practice for the first time Wednesday.

But the defensive tackle still has not agreed on a long-term contract.

"Just business," Donald said, dismissing the notion of possible animosity with the Rams' front office. "That's all."

Donald, speaking to the media Wednesday for the first time since beginning and ending his holdout, said he worked out "a lot" at his alma mater of Pittsburgh over the summer. He claimed to be in "great shape," but admitted that "it's different from being on the football field."

Rams quarterback Jared Goff said Donald was already "making practice hard for us again." First-year head coach Sean McVay described Donald as looking "exactly like you would expect."

"Looked fast, looked fresh, looked like the player that you have seen; did not look like he missed a beat," McVay said, a day before the Rams practice in pads. "It was good to have him back out there. Great demeanor, guys were excited to have him back. He was all smiles because he loves football."

Donald's holdout lasted 43 whole days. He was fined somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.4 million. But the Rams waived that, then received an exemption to place Donald on the active roster for their Week 1 opener to ensure that he received his first game check, totaling about $106,000.

Donald did not go into detail about his holdout.

"Just trying to handle the business side of things," Donald said, while wearing a CAA T-shirt that depicted the agency that represents him. "It was a decision I made, with my family and the guys that were helping me around me. My main focus is I am back now, and just doing what I gotta do."

Even without Donald, the Rams walloped the Indianapolis Colts at home 46-9 on Sunday. Their offense looked good, but it was their defense that shined brightest, returning two touchdowns for interceptions, recovering a fumble, causing a safety and registering four sacks.

"They dominated," Donald said. "They did great."

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