Chief 49ers rival shockingly announces retirement from NFL

This probably means the multiyear spat between Aaron Donald and Deebo Samuel will subside.

Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99)
Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers will no longer have to worry about squaring off against perennial All-Pro Aaron Donald twice a year.

Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald officially announced his retirement from the NFL after 10 seasons.

A Pro Bowler in each of those seasons, the eight-time first-team All-Pro broke the news officially on Friday, summing up a career that'll unquestionably result in a first-ballot Hall of Fame induction into Canton.

The San Francisco 49ers have to be feeling pretty good about the news, as well as the rest of the NFC West.

True, LA suffered a regression after it's Super Bowl win at the tail end of the 2021 season, but head coach Sean McVay's squad is by no means going through a complete rebuild. But the 32-year-old Donald was a massive piece in Los Angeles' defense and had been a thorn in the Niners' side for a long, long time.

No longer.

49ers (somewhat) had their way with Aaron Donald over his career

To say San Francisco's was the proverbial "Kryptonite" to Donald isn't quite accurate. Over 18 regular-season games, Donald had 12.5 sacks against the 49ers, the third most against any opponent over his career (understandable because of the divisional matchup), while having an opponent-high 55 tackles.

He was a force, however, in the 2022 NFC Championship game between the Rams and Niners, though, and that's a primary reason why LA advanced to the Super Bowl that season instead of San Francisco.

About the only solace that 49ers fans can have over Donald's era with the Rams is that Los Angeles went 5-13 in regular-season games against San Francisco.

Former Niners offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill also helped play a big role in limiting Donald's impact against his NFC West rivals in recent years, too.

No more spat between Aaron Donald and Deebo Samuel?

One of the more entertaining elements of the recent Rams-49ers rivalry was seeing how Donald interacted with Niners wide receiver Deebo Samuel, whom Donald had to question, "who?" in a postgame interview some years back.

That set Samuel off, and the wideout didn't hesitate to constantly remind Donald on social media about how San Francisco fared against LA during the former's tenure with the red and gold.

At one point, Samuel even admitted that Los Angeles was the team he hated the most. That was before the 49ers built up a rivalry with the Philadelphia Eagles, though.

Donald might have the last laugh, though, since his Rams own a Super Bowl ring, whereas Samuel's Niners have been on the wrong end of the Lombardi Trophy twice during both players' tenures.

Overall, though, one has to wonder if Samuel would quietly congratulate Donald on what's otherwise been an exemplary career.

Probably not. And that's fine, too.

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