TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury might have been at Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay’s wedding to celebrate the happy couple, but that didn’t mean he was going to waste the opportunity to undermine one of his biggest NFC West rivals.
Kingsbury dusted off his recruiting charm in an effort to convince Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald to retire, the Cardinals coach explained Thursday, with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek. Kingsbury claimed he “did my best” while talking to Donald, who has said he would’ve been satisfied with his career if he didn’t get a new contract.
“I told him, he’s accomplished all he can accomplish and it’s a great idea to go out on your own terms, all that,” Kingsbury said. He said he also tried to convince Rams receiver Cooper Kupp to “stop taking that McVay discount” and hold out for a few weeks for a larger deal.
As Kingsbury pointed out, neither attempt worked. Both players received megadeals days after McVay’s wedding.
Donald’s reworked deal increased the total value of his contract to $95 million over three years. Kupp’s extension is worth $80 million over three years. When Kingsbury wasn’t trying to eliminate two of the best players in the league from his own division, he enjoyed McVay’s nuptials.
“It was awesome,” Kingsbury said. “I told Sean this, but just to see that many coaches that he’s worked with, young, old, former, former players, current players show up to support him, it just shows the impact he’s had on those guys.”
Seeing his division rivals — against whom Kingsbury is 1-6 in his three seasons in Arizona, including a 34-11 loss in the NFC wild-card game that ended the Cardinals’ season — away from the field gave Kingsbury a different perspective on them.
“To see those guys in a different light, most of the time when you see all those coaches and players everybody’s revved up, nervous, anxious, and to just see everybody kind of laid back, let their guards down, it was a beautiful day,” Kingsbury said.