Lions defensive end and franchise player Cliff Avril wanted a long-term contract. He didn’t get one before Monday’s deadline for franchise players to sign extensions, and will have to either play out the season on his one-year, $10.6 million tender, or miss games.
Avril hinted to the Detroit Free Press after the deadline passed that he might not report for the start of training camp. Appearing Wednesday on SportsCenter, Avril all but confirmed that he’ll be a no-show for late-July practices.
“Probably won’t be there first day, that’s for sure,” Avril said. “I have to sit down with my agent and figure out when’s a good time, if we’re even gonna show up.”
Believing he lacks long-term financial security, Avril explained that he fears injury and skipping some or all of camp would be a business decision.
“This is probably one of the only times in your career that you’ll ever get a chance to, you know, opt out [and say] I’m not going to camp or whatnot,” Avril said. “But it also goes into with injuries and stuff like that.
“You know, you don’t want to get hurt.”
Avril had good luck with his health last season, appearing in all 16 games. He missed three games in 2010 with a quadriceps injury, and three more in 2009 with a sprained left MCL.