It would seem that Aaron Donald’s training session, video of which caused quite a stir Sunday, was not an April Fools’ Day prank. However, the Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman eventually acknowledged that the knives involved — yes, knives — were not real.
That information undoubtedly came as a relief to the Rams and their fans, not to mention anyone else who has enjoyed watching the 2017 NFL defensive player of the year wreck opposing offenses. Until his clarification, it sure looked like Donald’s frightening workout was meant to provide an exceedingly painful incentive for him to keep swatting away the arms of his training partner.
Okay, so the knives were not, in fact, a threat to leave Donald bleeding all over the turf while learning how to defeat blockers. That became a legitimate concern after Donald’s trainer, Pittsburgh-based DeWayne Brown of Two Tenths Speed and Agility, appeared to confirm the danger to his client, a former Pitt Panther.
In retrospect, the Rams would have been staring daggers at anyone even thinking about putting their star defensive player in that much peril during an offseason workout. Nevertheless, it’s not hard to imagine that even props-department knives could produce an effective psychological reaction, and they certainly did on the Internet, which had some sharp takes on the video.
If the video wasn’t as scary as it initially appeared, the thought that Donald is working hard to get better has to be legitimately terrifying to the rest of the NFL. Statistics rarely do justice to interior defenders, but Donald still racked up some impressive numbers in 2017 with 32 tackles, 11 sacks, five forced fumbles and one pass defensed, all of which came in just 14 games.
In 2018, Donald will be paired with the Rams’ most recent acquisition, Ndamukong Suh, giving offensive linemen twice as many nightmares. The former Dolphins and Lions star figures to occupy his share of blockers, allowing Donald even more chances to slice through lines and carve up quarterbacks.
In the meantime, take it from Eagles defensive lineman Chris Long, who would know a thing or two about how much value Donald got from his training session, to point out that the blades involved were the only dull aspect of the video.
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