Seahawks' Cliff Avril wants to continue football career
Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril isn't ready to give up football just yet.
Avril suffered a career-threatening neck/spinal injury on Oct. 1 and his timeline for a return has been unclear since. Coach Pete Carroll said on Jan. 2 that he and Kam Chancellor -- also dealing with a career-ending neck injury -- would "have a hard time playing football again."
Appearing on NFL Network's "The Aftermath" Monday, Avril told Steve Wyche there's a chance his football career continues.
"I believe so," Avril said when asked if he think he'll play football again. "Right now it's all about recovery for me. I had surgery. It's a long process, it's a long journey. When I get to the end of that, then I'll figure out what's next."
Avril, 31, had disc surgery in November after he was inadvertently heeled in the chin by Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett in week four of the regular season, causing the defensive end to lose feeling in his arms.
Carroll admitted that the neck injuries sustained by Chancellor and Avril could impact the quality of their respective lives, an unsurprising revelation considering the areas in question. Avril said he's had thoughts of potentially ending his career, but for now he plans to make a comeback attempt.
"Just (as) a competitor, I want to show that I can come back, if that's possible," Avril said. "But you do see all the injuries, you watch the game from a different perspective when you're on the sideline and those thoughts do pop up into my head of 'should I come back or not?' But, again, right now it's all about recovery and we'll see what's next."
And if Avril does return to football, he'd like it to be with the Seahawks, with whom he signed a four-year contract in 2014. He's set to make a base salary of $7 million in 2018.
"I hope they keep me around," Avril said. "But I don't know, there is a lot of changes going around, from coaches, and we'll see what they do with the players. It'll be interesting."
In five seasons with Seattle, Avril has 34.5 sacks and 91 tackles. He made the Pro Bowl in 2016 after totaling a career-best 11.5 sacks.
His teammate and close friend Michael Bennett has said that if the neck/spinal injury threatens Avril's long-term health, he'd rather his fellow pass rusher step away from the game.
"As a friend you want to make sure your friends are always safe and make sure that they can be a human being when they get done playing," Bennett said on Jan. 1. "I think sometimes at players we put our well-being behind us and we put the team in front of us. Sometimes you gotta put your well-being in the front and make sure you're able to play with your kids and be a great husband and great father for your family."
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