Will the fight between the Rams and Bengals lead to a suspension for Aaron Donald and the end of joint practices? | You Pod to Win the Game

Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson and Frank Schwab discuss the helmet swinging fight between last season’s Super Bowl combatants. Will the Rams’ superstar defensive lineman be handed a suspension? Myles Garrett was suspended for 6 games for swinging a helmet at the Steelers’ Mason Rudolph back in 2019. Could this be the fight that motivates the league to put an end to joint practices? Hear the full conversation on the You Pod to Win the Game podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.

Video transcript


CHARLES ROBINSON: Aaron Donald's went bananas in practice, joint practices with the Cincinnati Bengals, did the double, the double Myles Garrett, two helmets--


CHARLES ROBINSON: --although if you peered into the clip I was looking at, he only appeared to be swinging one helmet, but he was swinging the living hell out of that helmet. This isn't the kind of thing where the league typically, there's a lot of fights in practice, you don't usually see the league suspend anybody. I mean, teams have suspend teams. Odds the Rams actually suspend Aaron Donald for this.

FRANK SCHWAB: By the way, I haven't seen anybody that mad since somebody brought up "The Masked Singer" to you, so it was impressive--

CHARLES ROBINSON: Oh, needed to get that, had to plug that, huh?

FRANK SCHWAB: --to see Donald, see Darnold throwing blows like that. I mean, the chances of the Rams being like, you know what, Aaron, yeah, we're going to suspend you for a few games-- Yeah, it's about the same as me growing a full head of hair overnight. It ain't happening. It's not, and it's hilarious. But I mean, the NFL's going to have to probably like readjust this.

We see fights in these joint practices all the time.


FRANK SCHWAB: It's usually just your typical football fights, right. Like--


FRANK SCHWAB: --yeah, maybe grab a face mask, whatever. This is Aaron Donald straight swinging a helmet, which Myles Garrett's got to be like, hey, if I had done that in practice, I wouldn't have got any games, really? Like that's all I had to do was wait till joint practice? So something to Myles Garrett, I believe, got six games for, ended his season early, Aaron Donald's going to get nothing? That just doesn't make logical sense.

So we've just got this clip right before we started podcasting. So we were both kind of frantically searching to see if anybody had been suspended for a practice thing before, and all it comes up is Martellus Bennett got suspended by the team and Steve Smith once got suspended by the team, Michael Westbrook once got suspended by the team. The NFL's never stepped in as far as we can tell, and the Rams aren't suspending Aaron Donald. So he could basically just be swinging helmets like Myles Garrett, and nothing's going to happen to him at all.

CHARLES ROBINSON: All these joint practices, it was funny because when I went to visit a team on the camp tour, I was talking to the GM, and they were about to head off to some joint practices. And I kind of made the joke, I was like, you know, man, I'm going to miss it. Every single time I'm ever in joint practices, there's crazy fights. Like every join practice--

FRANK SCHWAB: Every time.

CHARLES ROBINSON: --I've ever been to, there's always been fights that break out, and they get pretty heated, not just the typical I'm pulling your face mask, pushing. Like you've seen guys on the ground, punches being thrown, all this stuff. And we've seen it multiple times in joint practices this off season. This is a cut above what normally happens.

But after this, I would have to think that at some point the league, and it might be the league meetings coming up here in the fall, they make it a point to send a memo or something saying, hey, look, if we're going to do these joint practices or maybe it's next off season, this needs to be a point of emphasis that you can't allow things like this to escalate to the level of an Aaron Donald and maybe even alert teams that if someone's hitting guys with helmets in the joint practice, we're going to step in and start suspending those players because I--

FRANK SCHWAB: You think they could do that? Do you think they could legislate that? I mean, isn't that something the union would have to agree to as well because you're talking about, and all of a sudden, if I'm a coach, if I'm Sean McVay-- I mean, this is probably a little too extreme for this example, but if I'm Sean McVay, I'm thinking, OK, yeah, we get some benefit out of practicing against the Bengals, I guess. But if I'm at risk of one of my guys getting suspended over a fight, and it's Aaron Donald for the Bills game, why am I doing this?

And I guess it's very rare. I get that. But it's still like I'm sure that all of a sudden these coaches would be like, I just lost one of my players for a game over a practice fight. Like I don't know that they'd want that.