With NFL contract settled, Los Angeles Rams star Aaron Donald vows 'it's about winning for me'

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- A day after the Los Angeles Rams reworked Aaron Donald's contract to make him the highest-paid non-quarterback in the NFL, the defensive tackle said hitting that distinction wasn't his priority.

"It wasn't important," Donald said. "It's about other things off the field that were going on in my life that I had to get situated. And being here, with an organization that I've been with since Day 1, that I grew with, became a world champion with. I'm ready to try to run it back and create that whole feeling all over again.

"It's about winning for me, and the pieces are here for that to come to fruition. And for me to be a piece to the puzzle and to be here right now, it's a blessing."

On Monday, the Rams reworked Donald's deal to give him a $40 million raise over the last three years of his existing contract, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter. The new contract made Donald the first non-quarterback to eclipse $30 million per season.

Rams coach Sean McVay said he and Donald had many conversations over the course of the offseason and that the defensive tackle was "very clear, open and honest about things that he was feeling." McVay said because of those conversations, there was "never a point in time" when he felt the 31-year-old was leaning toward retiring.

"I think he's been in the mindset and mentality that 'Hey, there is a business element to it, but I want to play football,'" McVay said. "And if he wanted to play football, I think we were all very motivated to try to figure out, how can we collaborate and get that done?"

Both Donald and McVay pointed to the number of conversations the pair had during the offseason as the organization work toward a new deal as one of the reasons it was done so smoothly.

"It was great," Donald said. "And being a lot more mature this time and understanding the business side of things. I talked to Sean a lot. ... He understands where I was at. It's more than just the business that needed to be handled. There's a lot of things in my life personally that I had to handle.

"So he understood that, and that's why I love him. Because it was so much deeper than football for me, and for my decision to be made and talked to my family about it. Talked to my kids about it. And we're here now."