While playing in a city known for its glitz and glamour, Aaron Donald was born and raised in Pittsburgh, a city that prides itself on having a blue-collar work ethic. A foundational piece during the Rams’ half-decade in the NFL pecking order, Donald recently laid the groundwork for a home improvement project in Pittsburgh, someone who has been instrumental in its success.
Along with host Nischelle Turner, Donald recently helped renovate his father’s home during an appearance on CBS’ “Secret Celebrity Renovation” which airs Friday, Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. ET. Donald, Turner and the crew renovated Donald’s childhood home, the house where he learned from his father the value of hard work.
“I have lived through hard work that pays off,” Donald said. “My dad told me that when I was a kid, hard work pays off. When we were lifting, he always said, ‘Come on, push yourself. Man made it, man can lift it.”
Donald said he and his siblings often watched his father lift weights in the basement, an area they called “the dungeon”.
“Once we got old enough to really work with him, it was like an accomplishment, like we finally got to be able to be in the dungeon,” Donald said. “It’s dark, it looks like a dungeon. That’s why we call it the dungeon.”
Check out the episode to see the renovations Donald and the team made to the dungeon and the rest of his childhood home. The episode also captures Donald’s father’s invaluable reaction to the renovation.
In addition to doing something for his father, the renovation also allowed Donald to shine a light on a town that is still close to his heart. Before becoming a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Donald stood out at a local college in Pitt, where he became the first defensive player in the program to achieve unanimous All-American status in 33 years.
“It’s definitely a lot of love, a lot of support in Pittsburgh, even though I’m making my NFL career out of Los Angeles,” Donald said. “To be someone who was really trained and born in this city, to be able to come back and still have that support is special.”