With other stars—Maurice Jones-Drew, Ed Reed and Darrelle Revis among them—planning to hold out because of contract disputes, it doesn't seem outlandish for a player of Cliff Avril's talent to miss day one of training camp because he is concerned about his financial future.
Avril signed a one-year, $10.6 million franchise tender but is still not happy with the Detroit Lions' inability to give him the long-term contract he desires. The 26-year-old defensive end said the following on ESPN's SportsCenter on Wednesday about why he is planning to hold out (via ESPN.com):
"Probably won't be there first day, that's for sure. I have to sit down with my agent and figure out when's a good time, if we're even gonna show up."
"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. But it also goes into with injuries and stuff like that. You know, you don't want to get hurt."
Avril was an essential part of Detroit's drought-breaking playoff appearance last season, accumulating 11 sacks and six forced fumbles in his fourth NFL season. He's also been part of a defensive reconstruction over the past couple years that has given Detroit one of the league's best front sevens.
He clearly sees the trend of wrapping up high-quality ends long-term, seeing the Cardinals giving Calais Campbell a five-year contract, the Buffalo Bills giving a six-year, $100 million contract to former No. 1 overall pick Mario Williams and the Eagles extending long-time star Trent Cole well into the future.
The position is in demand, and Avril is clearly determined to sign as lucrative of a contract as he can.