Lions defensive end Cliff Avril has reported to training camp and signed his franchise tender.
Avril was designated the franchise tag, worth $10.6 million, back in March after he and the Lions could not come to an agreement on a long-term contract. The two sides continued to be too far apart at the July 16 deadline to get a new contract done, which forces Avril to play the 2012 season under the franchise tag.
Avril was never a fan of playing under the one-year tender, which is why he didn’t report to training camp with the rest of his teammates July 26.
He passed his physical this morning and officially signed the tender
“If you’re heart is filled with faith then you can’t fear,” Avril tweeted early this morning. “Back to work, let’s get it #win.”
Avril had a breakout season in 2011, leading the team with 11 sacks and six forced fumbles. He has had 30 career sacks and 14 forced fumbles since 2008, when the team drafted him in the third round out of Purdue.
“One of the thing’s 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,” Lions general manager Martin Mayhew told reporters last week. “He’s willing to bet on himself and I respect that about him. 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.”
Avril reportedly turned down a three-year, $30 million offer by the Lions before the July 16 deadline.
“I know that when he gets here he’s going to be in great condition and be ready to go,” Mayhew said. “And he’s excited about how he’s going to play this year so I’m looking forward to seeing him.”
Avril missed just over a week of training camp (nine days and eight practices). He won’t be able to practice in pads with the rest of his teammates until he participates in two practices without pads, per the collective bargaining agreement. The Lions have an open practice at Ford Field tonight at approximately 6:30 p.m.
Tags: Cliff Avril
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 11 Comments »