Cliff Avril: Don’t worry, he loves his contract


Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril, he of the 54.5 career NFL sacks, may have a second calling waiting for him when his playing days are over. Avril and 20 other Seahawk players stood in as celebrity waiters at his Cliff Avril Family Foundation “Dining To Make A Difference” charity event on Monday. I asked him who was the best waiter among the roster of stars which included Russell Wilson, Jimmy Graham, Richard Sherman and others:

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“I can’t give that award to anyone but myself,” he said with a laugh. “But everyone did a great job, everyone was active and having fun.”

Avril is having a lot of fun these days, both on the field as one of the stars of the Seahawks defense, and off. His foundation to raise money for juvenile diabetes keeps him busy, and he’s also helping promote a community-awareness campaign sponsored by CenturyLink’s new 1 gigabit high-speed internet service. Dubbed 12s4good, the program wants to shine the spotlight on Seahawk fans who are giving back.

“Through the month of October we’re going to be recognizing all the people out there that are doing some great things in the community. All they have to do is post on any social media and hashtag it with #12s4good and they have a chance to win some cool memorabilia. We will be giving away signed memorabilia every week and also we’re going to pick a school in Seattle and do a big huge pep rally and I’ll be attending, it’ll be fun.”

I’ve been playing OK. I think I’ve left some sacks out there the last few games.

These are the kind of charitable contributions that come a pro athletes way these days, and the Seahawk players are as engaged as any team in the league. But Avril admits it’s a perk that he didn’t consider when he was at Purdue University chasing his dream of playing in the NFL.

“I don’t think it’s something you think about because you don’t know , you really don’t know. You just think you wanna play ball but then you start realizing all the different things you’re able to do; the platform that you have. Then you start realizing what you can do and how you can give back, you always are going to give back you just never know how you’re going to do it, and for me it was this route.”

Avril’s route to Seattle took him through Detroit, where he spent 5 years after being drafted in the 3rd round in 2008. His first season was rough, as the Lions went 0-16. He then became the first player ever to play for a winless team and a Super Bowl champion after signing with Seattle prior to the 2013 season. He faces his old team Monday night at the Clink. He says there’s no added motivation taking on his ex-employer.

Sep 13, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Nick Foles (5) attempts a pass under pressure from Seattle Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril (56) during the second half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

“I think the big thing for me is to just go out and play and have fun on Monday Night Football, it just happens to be the Lions. For the most part it’s not even the same staff that was there when I was there. It’s not like I’m mad at anybody in particular, it’s just going out and having fun playing ball.”

Through 3 games this season Avril has registered 5 tackles, 3 assists, 2 passes defensed, and 1 sack. And’s he’s not particularly happy with his performance thus far.

“I’ve been playing OK. I think I’ve left some sacks out there the last few games. Fortunately it’s a long season and I wanna continue to just keep getting better.”

Avril initially came to Seattle on a 1 year free agent deal, but signed a 4 year, $28.5 million extension during last season. The deal includes $16 million in guaranteed money, and in an off season filled with far too much talk about contracts, don’t count him among the Seahawks who are second guessing their compensation.

“The fact that I just signed a new one, what’s there to be mad about? I feel good. I would love to spend the rest of my career here. I understand the business part of things. I know how that works, so for me I just take it year by year. I would love to finish here, we have a great core group of guys here and most of them are locked in for the next couple years. I would love to finish here and hopefully bring some more championships to the city.”

While the Seahawks have sputtered to a 1-2 start, the Arizona Cardinals are flying high at 3-0, and sit atop many of the NFL power ranking lists this week. Avrill says he isn’t phased by what any other team is doing right now.

“Me personally, I don’t pay attention to any of it. You start paying attention to all those different things it just makes it harder. You gotta play every week and try to get wins and then at the end of the season you see where everything is. It’s such a long season things are going to be so up and down throughout the season. You just control what you control.”

One other thing may be out of his control, and if things break a certain way Avril may have to miss Monday night’s game. He’s expecting the birth of his son any day. The due date is Wednesday the 7th, but what if he decides to show up on game day?

“Then there’s a slight chance I might miss that game! The birth of my child…. I’ve played in 115 football games you only get to see your child being born once.”

Then here’s hoping all goes according to plan and Avril is able to hit the field on Monday to keep hunting down those sacks he says he’s left on the field the last three games.

His table-serving career can wait.

Next: Week 4 NFL Power Rankings

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