Cliff Avril says he wants to keep playing despite neck injury

Curtis Crabtree
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril isn’t willing to call in a career just yet.

Avril injured his neck in an October win over the Indianapolis Colts and had surgery in November to address disc issues in his neck. He was injured when the back of Jacoby Brissett‘s foot caught him in the chin as he was diving to tackle the Colts’ quarterback. The injury led to Avril being placed on injured reserve with his ability to play the game moving forward being called into serious question.

Nevertheless, Avril said he wants to keep playing football if he’s able to do so.

“I believe so,” Avril said in an interview with Steve Wyche of the NFL Network. “Right now it’s all about recovery. I had surgery. I’m in the process of recovering. It’s a long process, a long journey. When I get to the end of that, then I’ll figure out what’s next.

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said Avril – along with safety Kam Chancellor – are going to have a hard time playing again due to the injuries they sustained this season. Even if Avril can play physically, there’s a high likelihood it wouldn’t be with Seattle. He’s set to enter the final year of his contract with the team and the Seahawks would save $7.5 million against the salary cap by electing to move on.

Given the significant changes to the coaching staff already and expected turn over of the roster as well, it’s hard to see Avril playing for Seattle next season. That’s before factoring in his injuries.

But Avril says he still enjoys playing football and wants to keep playing if the opportunity presents itself.

“I mean, it’s something I love to do,” Avril said. “It’s what I’ve been doing forever and, just as a competitor, I want to show that I can come back if it’s possible, you know? You do see all the injuries. You see the game from a different perspective when you’re on the sideline. And those thoughts do definitely pop into my head of ‘should I come back or not?’ But again, right now it’s all about recovery.”

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