Aaron Donald understands massive paychecks always carry humongous expectations.
Speaking to NFL Network's Steve Wyche hours after signing a record six-year, $135 million contract extension, Donald said he understands the championship-level hype surrounding the Los Angeles Rams after the team's bevy of big-money signings and moves over the last six months.
"[We're capable of] a lot of special things," Donald told Wyche. "But we still got to go out there and perform. It's a lot of hype now, but we still got to work and go week-to-week and game-to-game and just keep getting better. But with the players we got, the talent we have, a lot of playmakers around us, the sky's the limit. If we put it all together, we can be special."
With the business side of things taken care of, Donald and the Rams can work toward transforming their current on-paper powerhouse status into a team that can beat opponents with regularity and challenge for a Super Bowl title. Donald, for his part, plans to do his part in the quest to help the Rams win a title.
Last year, he dominated from the get-go despite missing the first game of the season because of a protracted contract holdout. With more than a week to go before the Rams' season opener against the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 10, Donald is confident he'll be ready to play Week 1.
"I'm in great shape. It's more about just knocking the rust off as far as football-wise," Donald told Wyche. "Just working on my moves and being a little bit more fast-paced with it. I'm going to go day-to-day and keep getting better and better and go from there. ... But I think I'll be ready."
It seems the biggest obstacle to Donald putting together another All-Pro caliber season has already been shoved out of the way -- his desire to be paid like the dominant defensive force that he is. It seems Donald -- and Rams fans -- are both feeling a lot more confident and comfortable about the season ahead.
"[It] definitely was a stressful process for me," Donald said about the holdout. "A long ways coming, but I'm just happy and blessed that it's done and over with I can play football again."