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Aaron Donald absent from start of Rams minicamp

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The Los Angeles Rams began mandatory minicamp Tuesday with a large hole on the defensive line.

All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald, the league's reigning Defensive Player of the Year, was not present when the Rams took the practice field, NFL Network's Steve Wyche reported.

Donald, who skipped the voluntary organized team activities, enters the final year of his rookie contract and will earn a base salary of $6.89 million in 2018.

While he wasn't fined for missing OTAs, Donald is now subject to fines for being absent from minicamp, which requires attendance. A player can be fined $14,070 for missing the first day, $28,150 for the second day and $42,215 for the third day, a total of $84,435 for a three-day absence.

Meanwhile, Donald's contract situation doesn't come as a surprise.

The Rams have publicly stated throughout the offseason there is optimism for a deal to eventually get done, and coach Sean McVay has pointed out the communication line remains open both ways.

Taking care of Donald sooner than later would benefit the Rams, however.

The team spent a good portion of the offseason adding a trio of high-profile defensive pieces with defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, cornerback Marcus Peters and cornerback Aqib Talib. And having Donald in the mix ahead of the regular season will only make the defense better.

Donald, 27, has become one of the NFL's premier players since entering the league in 2014 as a first-round pick (13th overall) out of Pittsburgh. He has 205 tackles (148 solo), 57 sacks, nine forced fumbles and eight passes defensed in four seasons, and was selected as a first-team All-Pro in three straight seasons.

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