Anders suggests ‘running it back’ with McVay, Rams

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INGLEWOOD, California – Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay playfully used the retirement of Wednesday’s Super Bowl parade to lure the NFL’s best defender out of potential retirement, no matter how weak those thoughts may have been in the first place.

On a makeshift stage in front of the LA Coliseum, with the Olympic torch lit and thousands of fans gathered in anticipation, McVay drew for Aaron Donald, just as Ram’s defensive tackle was about to end a short speech.

“Aaron – Sean McVay just hit me on the shoulder,” said emcee JB Long. “He wanted to know if you were interested in driving it back.”

Then McVay began a not-so-subtle song.

Drive it back! Drive it back! Drive it back!

“We built a super team, we can bring the super team back,” Donald said, eliciting loud cheers, especially from McVay. “Why not drive it back? We can become world champions again!”

That moment seemed to allay concerns that McVay, the 36-year-old head coach who has reached two Super Bowls in five seasons, and Donald, three-time Defensive Player of the Year and seven-time All-Pro on his way to his age-31 season, would suddenly retire after the championship-winning 23-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday night.

Both recently left this option open. McVay, who spoke introspectively about eventually achieving a healthier work-life balance in the days leading up to the Super Bowl, answered a question on Monday about returning in 2022 with “We’ll see.” On Wednesday night, however, McVay’s fiancée, Veronika Khomyn, brought up all speculation that the 36-year-old coach would not be back next season, and posted a photo of McVay to his Instagram story with the caption, “And no. He’s NOT going on pension!!!”

As for Donald, before Sunday’s game, former NFL security and current NBC analyst Rodney Harrison stated that there is “a great possibility” that Donald will retire if the Rams win the Super Bowl, even if there are three years left of his contract.

Anders was casual Sunday night, but his comments on stage less than 72 hours later seemed to reveal he would return. McVay did not address the issue himself, but his actions apparently spoke volumes.

“You saw Sean on stage today,” Rams COO Kevin Demoff said. “He’s ready to defend our title.”

“Did they say that?” Rams general manager Les Snead asked legend when asked about McVay and Anders returning. “You know what, I trust it.”

Rams players, coaches and executives filled four double-decker buses on a 1.1-mile parade route that began at the Shrine Auditorium and wound down Figueroa Street before reaching the Colosseum, a place that has hosted the Rams for nearly 40 years. (including their first four seasons back in LA, from 2016 to 2019). The Rams are the third major LA sports team to win a championship in 16 months, but the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Lakers were denied a parade due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“Run it back” quickly became a theme of the Rams’ players on stage, a phrase also uttered by the dynamic receiving duo Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. Andrew Whitworth, the 40-year-old left-handed tackle who won the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, was reluctant to return, saying, “We’ll save that conversation for another day.”

But Von Miller, a 32-year-old Pro Bowl linebacker who ventures into free agency, was not.

“Von – Sean wants to know if you’re interested in driving it back,” Long said as Miller stood in front of the microphone.

“Man,” said Miller, “we’re not going anywhere.”

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