Avril (neck) was released by the Seahawks with a failed physical designation Friday, John Boyle of the team's official site reports.
Avril sustained a severe neck injury last October and his ability to continue his playing career is very much in question, making Seattle's decision to part ways not surprising. A key piece of a Seahawks unit that led the NFL in scoring defense from 2013 to 2015, Avril racked up 130 tackles and 34.5 sacks during his five seasons with the team. He joins Richard Sherman (49ers) and Michael Bennett (Eagles) as the Seahawks' third big-name player to surrender his roster spot this offseason.
Avril (neck) plans to reassess his football future in spring, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com reports.
Avril suffered a devastating neck injury in October and has yet to proclaim whether football will be in his plans moving forward. The defensive end plans to wait until spring, when he will be about six months removed from surgery, to consider his options. Avril is due $6.5 million in 2018, which will play a factor in the Seahawks' decision whether to retain him, if he is medically cleared to play.
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.
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