Rams to Discipline Aaron Donald, Players in Bengals Brawl Internally

Adam WellsAugust 26, 2022

IRVINE, CA - AUGUST 06:  Aaron Donald #99 of the Rams works out during the Los Angeles Rams Training Camp on August 06, 2022, at UC Irvine in Irvine, CA. (Photo by Icon Sportswire)
Icon Sportswire

The Los Angeles Rams are going to handle discipline for Aaron Donald and other players involved in Thursday's brawl with the Cincinnati Bengals internally.

A Rams spokesperson issued a statement about the situation to ESPN's Sarah Barshop: "The incident will be addressed internally, and any discipline will remain in-house."

According to Barshop and Ben Baby, the Rams and Bengals ended their joint practice early when a "melee broke out during a team drill featuring the Bengals' first-team offense and the Rams' first-team defense."

Video footage of the incident appeared to show Donald swinging a Bengals helmet at players in the middle of a scrum.

Warren Sharp @SharpFootball

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According to Baby and Barshop, the situation began when an unidentified Rams defensive player was engaged with Bengals tackle La'el Collins on a running play.

"The defender had Collins wrapped up from behind," Baby and Barshop wrote, "arms around his chest, seconds after Cincinnati running back Joe Mixon was a few yards downfield."

Collins seemed to take exception to the Rams defender holding him like that and threw punches after he got free, leading to the pile of bodies on the field with players from both teams throwing punches.

When coaches from both teams and officials were able to break things up, the Rams and Bengals decided to end the practice.

"I don’t know exactly what instigated it. I think in some instances teams defending each other," Rams head coach Sean McVay told reporters when addressing the situation. "Fortunately, my understanding is nobody got hurt and we’ll move on from it. Not going to make a bigger deal than what it is."

There was initially some thought that the NFL could potentially discipline Donald and other players who were involved in the altercation.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk confirmed the league has a longstanding practice of making teams responsible for overseeing the conduct of players during practice, including joint practices with another team involved.

Donald could potentially receive a fine, though it seems unlikely the Rams would go so far as to suspend their All-Pro defensive tackle for a regular-season game stemming from an incident that took place during practice.

The Rams and Bengals will play in a preseason contest at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati on Saturday at 6 p.m. ET.

Los Angeles will host the Buffalo Bills in the regular-season opener at SoFi Stadium on Sept. 8.