Aaron Donald: Never Satisfied, Addicted To Work & Making Himself Better

NFL's top defensive player continues to give back to his hometown Pittsburgh

The Fan Morning Show
June 21, 2019 - 12:12 pm
Aaron Donald

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan)- From Penn Hills high school to the University of Pittsburgh to the Los Angeles Rams to being the 2x NFL Defensive Player of the Year to an appearance in Super Bowl LIII, the accolades and accomplishments for Aaron Donald go on and on.

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And Aaron Donald is Pittsburgh through and through. 

"That's where it all started. That's where I first started grinding at, this is what pushed me to help me to be who I am today. I feel like that's what keeps you humble, that's what keeps you grounded and that's what will you keep you going," said Donald on The Fan Morning Show when talking about returning to the city and to Pitt in particular to work out in the offseasons. "I'm not going to change anything that got me this much success. Being at home, where it all started, around the people that helped me to get to where I'm at, the people I love...that's why I continue to get myself better because I've got good people around. I've got family, people that really care and want to see me succeed and push me.

Everybody always asks, 'Why do you want to go to Pittsburgh? You live in California now.' Pittsburgh's home. This is where it all started. This is always going to be home. I always have to get back to Pittsburgh and get some work done." 

Part of returning home for Donald this offseason included giving a seven-figure donation to the Pitt football program and receiving the honor of having the South Side training facility now named the "Aaron Donald Football Performance Center." 

Related: Pitt Honors Donald with Renamed Performance Center

Another significant part of that is hosting a youth football clinic in his hometown of Penn Hills through his charity, AD99 Solutions Foundation. Donald will certainly come equipped with a message for the kids in attendance. 

"It's not that hard to be good, you can be good off raw talent. But I feel like it's that extra step, doing work and putting a body of work in and doing things when nobody else is watching. When nobody else is telling you to do it, you're pushing yourself to do it. That's what's going to get you better, that's what's going to make you take that extra step toward trying to be great.

Obviously you've got God-given talent to do things that a lot of people can't do but I actually put the body of work in to get stronger, get faster, trying to work on my technique, trying to do little things that people usually don't do, just trying to improve my game. I always tell people the better you get, the harder it gets. Now everybody's watching, everybody's trying to find a way to slow you down, you get a lot of attention on the football field. If I don't get better, I'm not going to make any plays. I have to continue to get myself better, continue to push myself. I always try to get to the kids that hard work pays off. It going to show. You just have to keep grinding, stay level-headed, stay humble and it will pay off for you in the long run." 

Donald has been named the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year now for the past two seasons, so how in the world does he keep himself level-headed and humble? 

"I enjoy it, I'm just not satisfied. I feel like a lot people see me as, I guess some type of superstar, but I just see myself as Aaron. I did some great things, don't get me wrong but I feel like I can do more. Me not letting myself be satisfied is one of the main reasons why I am who I am.

I can't just sit down and chill for a whole week and not do any work. I feel like people are going to get better than me. So not letting myself be satisfied and having great people around me to push me, that's always going to light the fire under your butt to keep going. I'm just addicted to work and trying to get myself better." 

Oh, and Donald is still upset about that 13-3 loss to the Patriots in this past year's Super Bowl.

"Honestly, I was watching I think NFL Network was on at the Pitt facility when I was in the locker room or something and they had the highlights and I got so mad, man. I went training, I feel like I went a little harder in the training room that day. 

It was tough. That was probably one of the toughest times, as far as football goes, in my life. You're in the Super Bowl, the thing you dream about all your life and you're that close to being a world champion and you fall short...it's tough. But if anything it just motivates you and pushes you to work that much harder. I would have loved to win it but I feel like me losing, that's just going to make me that much better."

You can listen to the entire interview with NFL All-Pro, former Pitt star and Penn Hills gruduate Aaron Donald on The Fan Morning Show below.                                                                

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