Cliff Avril said he understands why Marshawn Lynch wants to play in Oakland, is glad the Seahawks did not trade Richard Sherman, and also looks forward to mentoring Malik McDowell.
Those were the top takeaways from a good interview with Avril on NFL Network on Tuesday — as Avril returns from his Haiti work and a side trip to the NFL draft to announce some of Seattle’s picks.
Lynch, who was in Haiti with Avril, was traded to Oakland before the draft so he could come out of retirement to play for his hometown team. Avril has no problem with that.
“I understand what he’s doing. He gets to go back home and play for the home team,” Avril said. “He embraces Oakland; that’s who he is. For him to get the opportunity to go play at home before they actually leave (for Las Vegas), that’s pretty cool. And they’re not in our division, so that doesn’t really hurt us. So that’s two pluses.”
Asked what he would have done if the Hawks also had traded Sherman, Avril said, “I probably would have called John (Schneider) and (said), ‘Hey, I don’t know what’s going on, but we need to keep Sherm.’ … I’m glad to see things are kind of calming down. I don’t really know the situation, honestly, but we definitely need Sherm for this thing to work.”
The Seahawks drafted six defensive players in the first eight picks — a clear effort to add some youth to Seattle’s aging defense. Asked if they are trying to phase the older core out, Avril laughed, “It’s the NFL. They’re always trying to phase you out.
“We’re all getting older; that’s no question,” the 31-year-old Avril said. “At the same time, I feel like everybody’s still playing at a high level. But you have to have your security blanket, I guess, in a sense. So they try to draft guys to see where they can start putting some new pieces in. But I think our core guys are still here, still playing strong, still being fast and physical. I think we still have the potential to do some great things this year and in years to come.”
The Hawks’ first draft pick was McDowell, a defensive lineman who arrives with questions about his work ethic and desire. As we said previously, Avril and Michael Bennett will be tasked with mentoring McDowell.
“You’ve got to lead by example,” Avril said. “Myself, Mike Bennett, I think we have to show these guys how to become pros. And we take pride in doing that. At the same time, (McDowell) has to want it more than we want it for him. He has to go out there each and every day and work hard. You’re going to have to not be afraid to ask questions and go out there and do what you’re supposed to do. … Watching the film, he’s a great player. He’s just gotta be consistent. And that’s the hardest thing in the NFL is to be consistent.”
In other news Tuesday, Jarran Reed reportedly is under investigation for an alleged assault of a woman.
Also, the Seahawks made a few moves, including cutting Perrish Cox and kicker John Lunsford. Cox was made expendable by the quartet of defensive backs drafted. Blair Walsh is the only kicker on the roster now.