THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Speaking for the first time in a media session since his role in the fight that ended the second day of joint practices between the Los Angeles Rams and Cincinnati Bengals, Aaron Donald said he is happy no one got hurt, but that he wants to focus on Week 1.
“My main focus is Buffalo right now,” Donald said. “I’m happy nobody got hurt in the practice and whatever, but my main focus is Thursday night against Buffalo.”
On Aug. 25, practice was ended early after a fight broke out on the field during a drill between the Bengals’ first-team offense and the Rams’ first-team defense. Multiple helmets were removed during the fight, and video taken during the scrum appeared to show Donald swinging a helmet multiple times.
Though Donald hadn’t had a news conference since the incident, he did speak last week on the “AP Pro Football Podcast,” reiterating that “it was just a practice. It was football. I don’t really want to go back to nothing negative that happened and talk about something that happened in a practice.”
After the incident, Rams coach Sean McVay said he didn’t want to make a big deal of the fight and said in some instances, it was just two teams defending each other.
On Monday, Donald acknowledged it was a dangerous situation.
“Everybody protected each other, everybody got out of the situation clean [and] healthy,” Donald said. “So that’s what matters. Ready for Week 1.”
Last week, McVay said the team handled any discipline pertaining to the fight internally. Defensive coordinator Raheem Morris said Monday that the team took the incident “very seriously,” and that he supported the way McVay handled it.
“You don’t want to swing a helmet ever just at anybody in general, but there have been some helmets ripped off at times,” Morris said. “You never ever want to do those things. You don’t want to have that on your résumé. … But at the same time, those things happen in practices. They’re mistakes. They’re errors and they’re correctable when they happen at these times.”
During a 2019 regular-season game, Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett was suspended six games for hitting Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph with his helmet. Because the incident with Donald occurred during a practice and not a game, Donald wasn’t subject to discipline from the league.