The Detroit Lions effectively re-signed all of their coaching staff and have turned their attention to their pending free agents on the roster. One of those pending free agents is defensive end Cliff Avril, who had a great season in 2011 and, apparently, is looking forward to cashing in on that great season. That being said, Avril wants to cash in on said success by re-signing with the Lions and not another team, according to the Detroit Free Press.
That being said, Avril is not a believer in hometown discounts, not by a long shot, he told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Friday. Avril says that he wants to be paid for what he's done for the team, which is helping them grow ... in other words, Avril thinks (correctly) that he had a big part in the team making the playoffs for the first time in a long time, and wants to be paid accordingly.
There's no such thing as a hometown discount in the NFL," he said. "Once you can't play anymore, they're going to let you go, so you definitely have to strike gold when you can. "That said, if they and another team present the same thing, I'd definitely stay with the Lions."
While the "no such thing as a hometown discount," portion is plenty for a good headline, there was a gem at the end of the article in which Avril suggested that most teams don't feel he'll hit free agency at all, but that a few have called to "express interest." It's seemingly harmless, until you remember that free agency hasn't officially begun and Avril can only talk to the Lions about a potential deal.
In another piece from the Detroit Free Press, Avril clarifies his statements, though:
"No other teams, per se, like general managers or anybody has called me or anything like that," Avril told the Free Press. "But I know a lot of guys that I've played with or guys that have seen me play have told me that their coaches have brought me up in a sense of, ‘Dang, that guy can play; wouldn't mind having him-type thing.' Never official-type things or anything like that."
That's the best way to do away with it all, as that kind of thing likely happens a lot in the NFL. Players will joke around about it, especially at, say, the Pro Bowl. There's a good chance Avril was just trying to scare the Lions a little bit, not realizing the tampering bit in a white lie, and there's just as good a chance that the above quote is perfectly true. Either way, Avril avoided getting some other teams in trouble with a tampering charge, as NFL spokesman Greg Aiello suggests the league doesn't plan to pursue said charge.