Cliff Avril has signed on to become a radio host on Sports Radio KJR beginning in July, but that doesn’t mean the veteran defensive end has officially retired after being released by the Seahawks last week. While admitting that he’ll have to wait for medical clearance after suffering a potentially-career ending neck injury in 2017, Avril told SiriusXM NFL Radio that “a few” clubs have expressed interest in his availability.
Last season, Avril played only 151 defensive snaps before going down, and garnered a disappointing 44.1 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. That was the lowest mark of Avril’s career, and he’d been an exceptional player as recently as 2015. It’s unclear, however, whether any team would be willing to risk putting Avril on the field given his recent injury history. As recently as January, Avril reaffirmed his desire to continue his career despite his health risks, but he told SiriusXM that he’s willing to walk away from the game if need be.
“I’m definitely ready (to move on if the doctor recommends as much),” said Avril. “I’ve had about eight months now to kind of wrap my brain around it. My wife and I, we’ve been talking about it. We talk about it pretty much every other week, just understanding, ‘Hey, if you’re not going to play anymore, what’s next? Start preparing yourself for that.’ And that’s kind of where I’m at right now. I’m OK if I’m not able to play ball. If the doctor tells me, ‘Hey, you should definitely reconsider not playing,’ I’m OK with that at this point of my career.”
If the 32-year-old Avril is medically cleared, it’s not out of the question that he could generate real interest on the open market given the dearth of available pass rushers. Other free agent edge defenders include Robert Ayers, Junior Galette, Erik Walden, Elvis Dumervil, Willie Young, and Connor Barwin.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.