Cliff Avril Was 'Embarrassed' To Say He Played For Lions

They went 0-16 his first season, after all.

97.1 The Ticket
February 13, 2020 - 12:36 pm

Cliff Avril always wanted to play in the NFL. He never thought his first team would go down as one of the worst in league history. 

But that's how it broke for Avril, who was taken by the Lions in the third round of the 2008 draft. Detroit became the first team ever that season to go 0-16.

Avril, who would spend five seasons in Detroit before finishing his career with the Seahawks, said he was so ashamed to be part of that team he tried to avoid telling people who he played for. He recalled what it was like in a conversation with former NFL-er Willie Colon on the Surf and Turf Podcast. 

"I go through that whole season and really, honestly didn't realize how bad we were until the offseason," Avril said. "About Week 13, Week 14 guys are putting themselves on IR. I'm like, 'Wait up, you can, like, say you're hurt and they put you on IR, basically quit?' And looking back on it, that's why we were 0-16. Guys were ready to get up out of there.

"But this is when it hit me, bro, the offseason. My rookie year offseason. You know, you're out and about, you're trying to turn up a little bit, and I'm almost embarrassed to say I play for the Lions. I'm like, this is an NFL team, been fighting my whole life to get on a team, and then it's like, 'Who you play for?' 'Ahhh, I play in the league, but I'd rather not say who I play for.'"

Avril, by far the best player from the Lions' 2008 draft class, was part of one winning team in Detroit -- 2011. He had a team-high 11 sacks that year, then signed with the Seahawks the year after. He won the Super Bowl in 2013 and was named a Pro Bowler in 2016. 

And when people ask him now which NFL team he played for, you can bet Avril leads with the Seahawks.