Cliff Avril surprised by lack of contact from the Lions


Cliff Avril played the first five seasons of his NFL career in Detroit, but this year the Lions haven’t shown much interest in him, either before or after he left for Seattle. And Avril finds that surprising.

Avril told Mike Freeman of CBS that Lions defensive line coach Kris Kocurek reached out to him after he signed with the Seahawks, but Avril has heard nothing from Lions head coach Jim Schwartz, General Manager Martin Mayhew or defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham.

“No Schwartz, no Gunn, no Mayhew,” Avril said. “None of those guys. Kind of surprising. It is what it is.”

It’s not that surprising that the Lions are thinking more about their future than a player who departed, but Avril’s comments underline how far apart the player and the team ultimately became. A year ago the Lions put the franchise tag on Avril, offered him a long-term contract and viewed him as a key cog in what they hoped was the nucleus of a good young team. Now the Lions are content to let Avril walk, and they’re not calling him to say goodbye.

32 responses to “Cliff Avril surprised by lack of contact from the Lions

  1. Just as surprised as we were when you rejected that 3 year – $30 million deal last year Cliff. Enjoy your pay cut and new team. Good luck, Cliffy…

  2. One common denominator you tend to see with winning franchises is they have a “family” feel to them. They are all in it together as a team, that means the coach, coordinators, position coaches, GM, and the players. They all have a healthy respect for one another and view themselves as “family”.

    You don’t really get that feeling from the Lions these days. Kind of like back when Chilly was coaching the Vikings, and he had absolutely no contact or personal relationship with any of his players. When people got cut, he didn’t even call them into his office to give them an explanation, just had an assistant put a pink slip on their locker.

  3. Mayhew, Schwartz and the rest know what Avril’s value was/is. It was not 10 mil a year like the franchise tag last year and more in a range like 6-8 mil a year and detroit was not willing or able to offer that. Avril is and always will be average, even more so without the likes of Suh and Fairley on the line with him. Why worry about an average DE when those can be found right on the roster already?

  4. Cliff, you were really surprised???? Looks like the Lions gave you the best offer last year and you ‘THOUGHT’ you were better than that. Apparently other NFL teams knew you were not worth it. You bit the hand that feed you. The Lions took that money and spent it on quality players wanting to come to the D.
    Good luck and have fun.

  5. Once he signed with the Seahawks can the Lions staff talk to him any longer? Tampering charges? Why didn’t he call Gunther? I undestand not wanting to talk to Schwartz, who would? Maybe Jim Harbaugh.

  6. he will do well in Seattle, with their DBs, I’m not mad he left cause he wanted the money of an 18 sack guy, and it took him two years to get 18. He’s never going to be in discussion of chasing Strahan…..but he will flash some moments for Seattle, and have to play the 49ers twice a year, who owned him in Detroit in a span of two years…

  7. What does Avril expect? His decision to leave the team has ultimately cost the Lions a draft pick where it could have gone to some other needed position, and I’m sure the Lions are not celebrating that.

  8. why is this classless? players move on from teams every month of every year. Do you really think the organization should take a break from their 100 hour work weeks to chat? Get over your self. If this is what makes a great team, I wonder if shrewd coaches from the pats and packers call all their former players to tell them how much they miss them…I’m guessing not

  9. That’s what happens when you are a constant malcontent always crying about your deal. KEEP IN MIND that the Lions offered you MORE money then what you are making now so they were acting in good faith, so think about how they feel about your diva-ness. They’re over it, hit the road Cliff.

  10. Lack of contact? The previous year Avril spurned a Lions’ offer of 3 years for $30 million of which $10 million was guaranteed. He refused it and foolishly played a year without the protection of further guarantees and ultimately ended up signng for less. In essence, he undertook unnecessary risk and lost $5 million in the process.

    Avril was a third round pick who was developed by the Lions over a 5 year period. Now he’s trying to make it sound like the Lions weren’t interested in him? It’s a two-way street. He just wanted “Mario Williams money” and ended up with a lot less than he could have had. Shouldn’t have listened to his greedy agent.

  11. Bizarre – what does he want them to do? Call him and beg him to come back? Look, the Lions and their fans would have loved to have Cliff back, but it’s pretty well known that Cliff had a long-established value of himself in his mind, and the Lions knew they could not meet that value and still improve the overall team in other areas, so they moved in a different direction. Once the market determined his value (either because of the perception of him playing next to Suh and Fairley as a one-trick pony who does not stop the run, or the overall was not near what he thought it was, they market for pass rushers/DE) were too engrossed in negotiations with Bush, Quinn, Houston, Delmas, etc. He made a business decision last year not to accept what, in hindsight, was a pretty good contract offer. They in turn made a business decision to go in a different direction. In the end, both parties may end up better for it.

  12. The next surprise in this saga will happen in Seattle when they review the game film and ask themselves if they got their money’s worth?

    Any team should be wary of a FA where his original team is making no effort to re-sign him. If they have a player on their team for 5 years and don’t even make an attempt, what do they know that Seattle has yet to find out?

  13. Glad he’s gone! His one good year was a contract year. Lions should’ve traded him immediately after he signed his FA tender last year and got something for him.

    Cliff, if you read this, it’s a business!!! You had a 3yr offer for $10mil per and you turned it down for less $. Your only + is getting after the QB (for 1yr), other than that I’m not sure why you think your deserve more. You’re not JPP, Allen, Watt, Aldon Smith, Miller etc, can you see what they have in common? They’re GAME CHANGERS!

    Thanks for your service and best of luck!

  14. Why would any of the Lions administration contact a Seattle Seahawk who is under contract?

    As for not wanting Avril back, it probably had to do with a couple of things. First, Avril was the LDE going up against the ROT, not the better pass blocking LOT. With Suh and Fairley on the line, arguably, more production was expected.

    Second, run defense wasn’t a strong suit. You’d be hard pressed to find any Lions fan who thought Avril was a good run defender.

    If Avril needs a pat on the back: thanks for your time in Detroit; as a Matt Millen pick, you greatly exceeded expectations.

  15. Some coaches (and their staffs) just don’t get that what goes around comes around. Treat your present and former players with civility and respect and you’ll become a desirable destination for future talent. Treat them like yesterday’s trash, and players on the outside will look at your team as a last resort.

  16. I also just left my job for another job, are my former employers callin me? no….cmon fools like it effin matters.

  17. Avril made it known publicly through his comments that he preferred to go somewhere else. He might have come back to Detroit for a monster record-setting contract (which he obviously wasn’t going to get), but he was ready to move on. These comments now are unnecessary.

    Seattle had better just hope no one runs the ball on them. Cliff used that time to catch his breath.

  18. I don’t know which is more sad – the fact that this is an article or the fact that he’s crying because his former team isn’t calling him. Grow up boy, this is the NFL. You are right on “lionhunter”

  19. Avril gambled on a pay-day while the Lions made the better business decision. That’s all there is to it. If you know anything about the Lions, you’d know that they love their players and that there is a lot of passion from the coaching staff. They love their guys and they love to win. They’ll get there.

  20. What more need be said than what Mayhew told Detroit beat reporters:

    “He’s a very good football player,” Mayhew said. “He’s a very good guy. Has been an important asset to our team over the past couple of years. I think Seattle got a great player and a great value in Cliff Avril. He’ll be missed.”

    The Lions shifted their focus away from re-signing defensive end Cliff Avril before free agency opened, when Avril’s asking price was too high.

    Once it became apparent Avril wasn’t generating the interest – or going to get the money – many expected on the open market, general manager Martin Mayhew said the Lions were too far along with other targets to rekindle their interest in their sack leader the last two years.

    “There are a lot of moving pieces in free agency and we started down the road with some guys and we were in those talks,” Mayhew said today at the NFL’s owners meetings. “You start thinking about bringing a guy back, bringing Cliff back, and it probably would have cost us two players to bring him back, if you think about it that way. And we just felt like we’d be better served to sign the guys that we were talking to.”

  21. Big deal. I bet Belichick hasn’t called Welker either. They might be a little busy this time of year working to get guys that will be playing for Detroit not seattle.

  22. Phones work both ways Cliff..why would they call after you attempted to holdout and then turn down $10m a season to ultimately take less. Sounds like he is looking for someone to pump up his already massive ego. Au revoir. Enjoy Seattle.

  23. Since he is under contract with another team, wouldn’t such contact be considered tampering?

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