Cliff Avril’s timeline for a decision about his career appears to be late April, and he reiterated that his recovery from neck surgery is more about regaining quality of life than about playing football again.
“It’s such a long journey,” he told 710 ESPN on Wednesday, a day after he talked to NFL Network. “This is supposed to be a four-, five-, six-month type of thing. So, once I get to that five-month mark and I’m seeing how I’m feeling … I’ll sit down with my wife and we’ll have the discussion.”
One problem: The Seahawks might need to have the discussion sooner than that.
Earlier this month, Pete Carroll made it sound like it will be an uphill battle for Avril and Kam Chancellor, who also has a neck injury, to return to the field.
Said Carroll: “Cliff and Kam are going to have a hard time playing football again.”
Avril said he is talking about playing again mostly because it helps motivate him to get back to a normal state of health.
“I have the mindset of being able to return,” he said, “because I feel like, as a professional athlete, if you do have that mindset, you’re going to go 110 percent to get back to normal.
“I just want to get back to feeling good,” he said. “I want to get back to just being able to move around and hopefully be able to go outside and play basketball with my kids and different things like that. That’s the main goal for me, not necessarily getting back to football, but just quality of life.
“But now, as I continue to keep chopping away, I don’t want to just close the door on it,” he added. “I definitely think I can get back on the field. If it’s possible, I will. But if not, I’m OK with that. As long as I’m able to be a dad and being able to run around with my kids, that’s No. 1 for me right now.”
Avril had surgery in late November, so five months would take him to late April for that discussion with his wife.
“Once I get back feeling fine and I’m working out, I’m training and I’m moving around,” he said, “we’ll make the decision on, ‘Hey, what do we think we should do right here?'”
The timeline might not work for the Seahawks, especially if they are interested in trying to keep Sheldon Richardson. The franchise tag deadline is March 6 and free agency begins March 14. They need to know whether they will reclaim Avril’s $7.5 million in cap space.
It’s possible the Seahawks are planning to do it regardless of Avril’s health, in which case they apparently could pay him a $1.15 million injury settlement if he did not pass a physical.
It would be a tough way to part with one of the best Seahawks of this decade, but business decisions have to be made. The NFL calendar waits for no one.