That was around the time Aaron Donald was introducing himself to an audience beyond the Steel City during a sophomore campaign at Pitt in which he tallied 11 sacks.
Now as a Ram and arguably the best player in the NFL, Donald will return home.
From his head coach's vantage point, though, there's never any reason for extra motivation for Donald, though. Extra motivation need not apply to someone who's as driven as Los Angeles coach Sean McVay believes his defensive lineman is.
"He's one of the rare players -- if things continue on this trajectory -- what I think these great players look like. You talk about, 'What's the difference between the good ones and the great?' It's the talent, but then it's using that talent and working as hard as you possibly can to maximize that talent," McVay said Friday via team transcript. "There is never complacency that sets in. You continue to come away impressed with just his overall athleticism. I'm just as impressed with his consistency in terms of how he works. Nobody's more intrinsically motivated than him, and I think that's why he's great."
Donald has been causing night sweats for all those who've had the misfortune of opposing him this season whether the statistics showed it or not. However, since a slow start at least where sacks were considered, Donald's numbers are falling into place.
He's registered sacks in three straight games, with four total over that span. Over those past three contests, Donald's roared to the tune of 12 tackles, six for a loss, four sacks, four quarterback hits, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
The man believed to be the best in the world is producing as such.
And he's coming home and his head coach has no reason not to believe he won't be ready, just as he is for every Sunday.
"He trains like the guy that's trying to be the best player in the world," McVay said. "I think he uses a bunch of different drills that sometimes are equipped for [defensive backs] in terms of the footwork, the lateral agilities, the short-space quickness stuff. But all of it is applicable to being a great defensive lineman and, certainly, he's going to use anything he can to try to get an edge."