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Cliff Avril, who was drafted by the Lions in the third round in 2008 burst onto the scene his rookie year and hasn't looked back.
Though he has had a list of injuries, Cliff is a very productive player when he is on the field and has earned the starting spot at left end.
Avril had a career high 8.5 sacks last season. In 13 games, he added 33 tackles to his resume along with a forced fumble. He also deflected a pass that went into the hands of teammate Alphonso Smith.
In his career, he has played 40 games (27 starts), collected 88 tackles (62 solo), registered 17.5 sacks (116.5 yards lost), knocked down seven passes, recovered two fumbles, forced eight fumbles and has three special teams tackles (from the official Lions website).
His reward? Avril was given the highest praise a restricted free agent can get. He received a first and third round tender. This means that, under the current collective bargaining agreement, if another team wants to sign him, they would have to give Detroit the option to match the offer or the other team would have to give their first-and third-round draft picks as compensation.
Avril chose not to sign the tender, just like Houston. However, his reasoning was because he doesn't want a one-year extension with the Lions.
Avril wants a longer deal and he would like it to be with Detroit.
His statement had a very different sound to it than Houston's.
Avril's comment to the Detroit Free Press was, “I’m definitely excited that I can be in Detroit at least one more year. I kind of want something long-term, but we’ll work toward that still.”
In my opinion, Avril gave the right answer.
He showed class and maturity when he responded to the offer and the Lions coaching staff will definitely take note of that.