In April 2012, I was at El Gaucho in Bellevue for Ben’s Fund, which provides grants to families to help cover costs associated with medical bills, therapies and numerous other aspects of supporting children with autism. Before the event began, I recognized Cliff Avril sitting by himself. If you remember, Cliff had just gotten here, signing with the Seahawks in free agency from Detroit. At this time I wasn’t in the media, so my questions were from a fan’s perspective.
I introduced myself, and the first thing I said was, “Man, you didn’t take that for-sure money with the Lions?” He laughed, and then said, “Nah, it’s bigger than that. It’s not always about money.”
Since then I’ve gotten to know Cliff a great deal. We hear about him on the field so often because he gets after quarterbacks better than most in the NFL. Recently we have gotten learn about what he’s been doing off the field. In a tweet from him in October, he said: “I’ve pledged that For every sack this season, I will fund a safe/permanent home for the resilient people in Haiti!” He was also named Man of the Year by the Seahawks.
Cliff took some time to sit down with me so that I could find out 10 things about him that have nothing to do with football, and that some of us might want to know:
10. Your wife Tia, how has she helped your career?
She such an amazing wife and great mom. I always know she’s holding down the fort. I never have anything to worry about. I got the easy part. All I have to do is focus on work. She’s means everything to my career.
9. Whats the most important lesson that you want to teach your sons?
I want them to respect everybody, understand how important an education is, and always be there for their mom.
8. What teacher in school made the most impact on you and why?
Ms. McCool. She was my Algebra teacher. She was actually my teacher three out of the my four years in high school. She was one of the few teachers that actually believed in me and thought that me going to Purdue University wasn’t a bad idea. Other teachers were doubting me and thinking that I would be back home soon. To this day we still communicate. She’s like an inspiration to me.
7. Since you’ve been to Seattle, what’s been your most embarrassing moment?
One time before a game at CenturyLink Field, I came over to the sideline and I dapped everybody up except for my wife, and everybody looked at me like was crazy. Yeah, I was pretty embarrassed.
6. Your house is burning and your family is safe. What three items will you go grab?
Cell phone, wallet, and a family picture. As long as I have my cell phone and wallet we can make it from there.
5. It’s quiet, you can’t sleep, you’re staring at the wall. What fear could possibly keep you up?
My wife’s health, my kid’s health, and my mother’s health. Outside of that, I’m sleeping like a baby.
4. If right now was your last chance to give your wife three thank yous, what would they be?
Thank you for being an amazing wife. Thank you for being an amazing mom. Thank you, thank you for putting up with me.
3. What would Cliff today tell 18-year-old Cliff?
To enjoy college more. I think sometimes I was way too serious. That’s about it. Eighteen-year-old Cliff was pretty cool.
2. You do a lot of great things in this world. Where do you draw your inspiration from to do them?
My core foundation. That foundation comes from my mom and my dad. I’m very fortunate. I play a game for a living. I’m able to provide for my family. Where I’m from, a lot of people don’t have. I love giving back. I mean, I’m fortunate and blessed to be able do so, so why not?
1. What’s does a perfect day look like for Cliff Avril?
A perfect day would be when nobody is fighting, nobody is hungry, everybody has a home to live in, and there’s world peace. Yeah, that’s a perfect day.
Back in November of last year, I asked Cliff if he had any extra shoes because I thought that a kid I know could use some more shoes. He let me know that he had just gotten rid of a bag of shoes. He then says, “Text me his size and I will put something together.” I sent him the size. A week later Cliff gave me three pair of shoes to give to this kid. He had gone out himself and purchased them. The kid was so grateful to get these shoes. No news, no accolades, just a kind-hearted gesture from a guy named Cliff. That’s pretty cool huh?
He told me back in 2012 that it wasn’t always about money. I guess we are slowly learning what it is about for him.
We all know he’s a great football player, but now know he’s a better man.
Appreciate you for reading. Love ya for that. Until next time.
– Gee Scott