Aaron Donald spent eight seasons wrecking quarterbacks and demolishing offensive lines. The Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle has racked up enough individual awards to make him one of the greatest defensive players of all time and a sure-fire Hall of Famer.
Donald has won three Defensive Player of the Year awards. He's made eight Pro Bowls. Seven first-team All-Pros. Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2014. Named to the NFL's 2010s All-Decade Team. His 98.0 sacks places him 40th in NFL history already, more than many great edge rushers, let alone interior defenders.
But, according to Donald, there is a massive gap in his resume: Super Bowl champion.
"I feel like I accomplished a lot in a short amount of time in this league," he said Thursday, via the team's official transcript. "The only thing I'm lacking now is being a world champion. To get to that point, we've got to win this week. So, we're focused on the 49ers and trying to find a way to beat them, to get to where we're trying to get to."
Ahead of Sunday's NFC championship bout against the San Francisco 49ers, Donald said getting over the hump to the Super Bowl is the only thing that matters in his book.
"Well, this is what you work for. This is what I've been working for," he said. "This is what we've been working for. We've been trying to find a way to get to the Super Bowl and we're one game away against a divisional opponent. They had our number the past couple of times we played them. I feel like there's no better stage than this. This is the type of game you train for during the offseason. All that extra grind, all that extra film is to play in big games like this. I feel like there's no better stage than what we have right now."
The rest of the Rams know how much a Super Bowl would mean to Donald and have made it their goal to get him that ring.
"This building wants to win for Aaron Donald to create more mystique to his legacy and what he's done. We want to win for Aaron Donald," defensive coordinator Raheem Morris said.
Von Miller, who already owns a Super Bowl ring from his Denver days, said his goal is to get the rest of the Rams veterans their own.
"So many teammates on my team, this is really all they need," Miller said. "Aaron Donald, this is all he needs, and he has the whole shebang, you know? Andrew Whitworth and Eric Weddle and all of these guys, I want to do for them. And I feel like that is what really drives me whenever I'm on the football field."
On Sunday, Donald will join Lawrence Taylor as the only player to appear in a conference championship game with three Defensive Player of the Year awards. From there, Donald will try to match LT again by getting back to a Super Bowl and winning that Lombardi Trophy.