Rams defensive star Aaron Donald has long been true to his school, and officials at the University of Pittsburgh formally acknowledged his devotion Wednesday night.
The university officially unveiled the newly dedicated Aaron Donald Football Performance Center on the ground floor of Pitt’s Duratz Athletic Complex practice facility, where Donald still trains during offseasons.
Pitt officials announced in April that Donald, the Rams’ reigning two-time NFL defensive player of the year, had made a seven-figure financial commitment to the Pitt Football Championship Fund. The donation made Donald, 27, the youngest seven-figure donor in the history of the University of Pittsburgh, according to a school news release.
Donald, a four-time All-Pro who led the NFL with 20.5 sacks last season, said Pitt was his “dream school” as a youth, and was happy to be able to repay the school for helping mold him into a successful professional. Donald, a Western Pennsylvania native, starred at Pitt from 2010 to 2013 before the Rams made him the 13th pick of the 2014 NFL draft.
“I love Pittsburgh,” Donald told reporters Wednesday night. “This is where I was born and raised. Great university. They allow me to train here and use everything just like if I was still playing here.
“This is where I’m comfortable at. This is where it all started, this is what keeps you grounded, keeps you going, keeps you pushing. This is home to me.”
The Rams made Donald the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history last August when they signed him to a six-year, $135 million contract extension that included a $40 million signing bonus. At the time, Donald gushed about the impact the lucrative deal would have on his family.
“My ultimate goal was always to make it to this point and be able to retire my mom and dad,” he said. “To have the opportunity to call them and tell them they don’t have to work another day in their life, that was the best feeling ever. Thinking about it, I get a little emotional.”
“I love Pittsburgh. This is a great university. This is where I’m comfortable at. This is home.” – @AaronDonald97
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) June 20, 2019