Cliff Avril says "It's up to Tom (Lewand)," Lions president
From the sounds of things, Cliff Avril is not interested in engaging in a war of words.
But he would like to make a point after Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand said the “ball’s in his court” when it came to the defensive end signing his one-year tender that came with the club’s franchise tag.
Avril has skipped the team’s voluntary offseason workout program as he seeks a long-term contract with far more in guaranteed money than the $10.6 million one-year tender will bring. Speaking at Ndamukong Suh’s football camp at Dearborn (Mich.) High School, Avril said the onus is on the club.
“It's up to Tom,” Avril said, according to Carols Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press. “It's up to Tom, and see where we can go with that.”
Does that mean the ball is in Lewand’s court now?
“Nah,” Avriel replied, “We're not passing back and forth.”
Yes, Avril could sign the one-year tender and walk into the team’s facility Monday morning. But he wants more than that and he’s exercising the leverage he has in hopes of landing a big contract. Lines of communication between the two sides have remained open. Whether or not that means a deal can be brokered before the July 16 deadline remains to be seen.
“Things will work themselves out,” Avril said. “I don't stress out about it. It's a business and you can't get mad about it. So we'll see how it goes. Hopefully, I'm there for the start of (training) camp.”
Sounds like Avril is taking the right approach. If he is lucky, it will help him land a deal.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune