Avril (neck) told Steve Wyche of NFL Network on Monday that he plans to continue his playing career following November disc surgery. "I believe so," Avril said, when asked if he thinks he'll play football again. "Right now it's all about recovery for me. I had surgery. It's a long process, it's a long journey. When I get to the end of that, then I'll figure out what's next."
Avril required the season-ending procedure after he took a heel to the chin from the Colts' Jacoby Brissett in Week 4, resulting in the defensive end briefly losing feeling in his arms. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll acknowledged that Avril's quality of life could be affected if he continued playing through the neck injury, but it appears the veteran is willing to accept the risk. Avril, who tallied a career-best 11.5 sacks in 2016, is due a base salary of $7 million in 2018, but the Seahawks may want to ensure he's fully healthy before keeping him on the roster heading into next season.
Avril landed on injured reserve in October after sustaining the neck issue, which briefly caused him to lose feeling in his arms and hands. Given the severity of Avril's situation and the long-term complications spinal injuries can cause, it's possible the 31-year-old could opt for retirement in the offseason. The 10-year veteran, who recorded a career-best 11.5 sacks in 2016, has one year and $7 million remaining on the four-year extension he inked in 2014.
This move has been in the works for awhile and at this point, Avril is apparently seriously considering retirement. The 31-year-old could be designated to return from IR after eight weeks, but that seems unlikely based on how things are trending at this time.
Carroll also hinted that Avril may be considering retirement, saying that the pass rusher is visiting with doctors and, "seriously looking at a big decision." The neck injury that's held out Avril since Week 4 could put him at added risk of suffering spine or head injuries if he continues to play.
This is unsurprising after head coach Pete Carroll indicated earlier this week that Avril may be dealing with a more severe neck issue. Frank Clark will step in as starting right defensive end in his absence.
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