Publicly, at least, Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew isn’t putting any pressure on Cliff Avril to get to training camp.
The defensive end has yet to arrive and that is no surprise. He made it clear he would not be on time when he failed to work out a long-term contract with the club prior to the July 16 deadline for players with the franchise tag.
Now, it’s a matter of time before Avril arrives. Yes, the Lions would prefer sooner rather than later but Avril isn’t contractually obligated to be there right now because he has not signed a one-year offer that will pay him $10.6 million for the 2012 season.
“I would love to have Cliff here, looking forward to seeing him,” Mayhew said, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “Eventually I know he will be here, and he’ll be in great condition when he gets here. I know he’s a hard worker. He’s getting ready to play football, and he’s excited about this season.”
Avril hinted he would remain at home for his son’s birthday when no deal materialized for him. That was on Friday. It is anyone’s guess at this point when he’ll make his way to camp.
Mayhew didn’t want to speculate on the possibility of placing the tag on Avril again after this coming season, and he said he appreciates part of the approach Avril is taking.
“One of the things about Cliff’s situation, if there’s anything positive to take from it, or that was encouraging for me, was he’s very optimistic about how he’s going to perform this season and he’s willing to bet on himself, and I respect that about him,” Mayhew said. “He has his reasons for not being here, but I guess what I’m saying is we made a very solid offer to him that we felt was a very good offer. He was willing to bet on himself and bet he’s going to outperform what was on the table, and I like that.”
The Lions could always attempt to sign Avril to a long-term deal again but that could not take place until after the season.
Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs
Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune