Aaron Donald ends holdout, reports to Rams without new deal

LOS ANGELES (AP) All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald reported to the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday, ending a holdout that began in May without getting a new contract.

Donald passed his physical when he reported to the Rams' training complex in Thousand Oaks, but he will not play in their season opener at the Coliseum against Indianapolis on Sunday.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection held out for four months to demand a new contract after three standout NFL seasons. The Rams held months of civil negotiations with Donald's representatives, but couldn't reach a deal.

The sides intend to continue negotiations even with Donald back on the team, the Rams announced.

Donald is scheduled to make $1.8 million this year and $6.9 million in 2018 under the terms of his rookie deal. He was seeking a contract to make him the NFL's highest-paid player, but he won't miss any game checks this season by reporting in time for the opener.

Donald is among the top defensive players in the sport, recording 28 sacks in three seasons and earning a reputation as one of the league's most effective players at any position. He was the AP's defensive rookie of the year as a first-round pick in St. Louis in 2014.

Donald missed an entire training camp under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who is eager to plug Donald into the center of his 3-4 defense. The Rams host Washington next weekend.

Tanzel Smart, a rookie sixth-round pick out of Tulane, is expected to start in Donald's place Sunday against the Colts.

---

More AP NFL: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.