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Pitt's Donald wins Lombardi Award

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Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald poses for a portrait with the Rotary Lombardi Award prior to the awards ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Houston. Donald won the award on Wednesday night.
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Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, 10:12 p.m.

Aaron Donald's second victory on the college football banquet circuit was a little different than the first.

This time, he had a chance to talk to a former winner.

Minutes after Pitt's celebrated defensive tackle was named winner of the Rotary Lombardi Award on Wednesday night in Houston, he spoke via telephone with — and received congratulations from — former Pitt star Hugh Green, the 1980 winner.

Donald, a Panthers senior from Penn Hills, adds the Lombardi (best lineman, offense or defense) to the Bronko Nagurski Award (best defensive player) he won Monday in Charlotte, N.C.

He also was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year twice — once by media members and Wednesday by the conference's head coaches.

The other Lombardi finalists were UCLA's Anthony Barr, Alabama's C.J. Mosley and Missouri's Michael Sam.

“They are great football players,” Donald said after winning the award. “I'm honored just to meet these guys.”

Earlier Wednesday, Donald and the other finalists visited patients at Texas Children's Hospital Cancer Center and MD Anderson Cancer Center.

“It was an amazing opportunity to interact with some of the kids who are less fortunate than you,” he said. “It gives you motivation to see what they are going through.”

Donald's tour continues Thursday at the Home Depot College Football Awards in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., where he is a finalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award (defensive player of the year) and Outland Trophy (most outstanding interior lineman, offense or defense).

Plus, he is a candidate for the Walter Camp All-America team that also will be revealed Thursday. ESPN will televise the presentation, which includes 10 individual awards and the All-America team, starting at 7 p.m.

Donald is not one of the six finalists invited to New York City for the Heisman Trophy ceremony Saturday, but he could be among the top-10 vote getters.

Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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