Seahawks DE Cliff Avril happy to open his wallet after big game
Cliff Avril’s strip sack with less than three minutes left in the first quarter was arguably the Seahawks’ biggest play of the first half of their win over Atlanta, but the play’s impact will ultimately be felt even stronger on the other side of the world.
With the scored tied at zero and the Falcons pinned inside their own 20-yard line, Avril slipped around right tackle Ryan Schrader and swiped the ball from quarterback Matt Ryan as he was about to throw. Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel recovered, giving Seattle the ball at Atlanta’s 9-yard line. Running back Christine Michael ran the ball for team’s first touchdown on the next play.
The 30-year-old has pledged that, with every sack he collects this season, he will pay for a house in hurricane-decimated Haiti. Avril, who’s parents were born on the Caribbean country, doubled his sack total Sunday to four on the season. With each home costing $6,000, that means he’s currently in line to pay $24,000, though he’s hoping to get into double-digit sack territory.
When asked if the strip sack meant anything extra because of his pledge, Avril responded: “It means more money is coming out of my pockets. No, I’m just joking. Yes, it’s for a great cause. We’re so fortunate to play a game for a living and on top of that I’m able to provide homes for people who don’t have homes, the things that we take for granted. So, I’m grateful and I’m fortunate to be in a situation to do it and hopefully we’ll get more.”
It was Avril’s 24th sack that forced a fumble since his entered the league in 2008, which is the most by any player in the NFL. He continued to be a menace on the line this season, finishing the game with two of the team’s four sacks, a tackle for loss and two quarterback hits along with the forced fumble.
Avril said in the locker room after the game that hitting the quarterback is always the goal but that he takes those game-changing plays as a personal responsibility.
“I feel like that’s my job as a player on this team, to get sacks and hopefully get turnovers with it so I was fortunate to get a couple of them,” he said.
Teammate Michael Bennett credited Avril, who has never been to a Pro Bowl, and his fellow defensive linemen for continually harassing the quarterback.
“Each week we focus on getting off the ball and getting time to get to those guys,” he said. “We have the best rushers in the NFL with Cliff Avril, Tony McDaniel, (Athyba) Rubin and all those defensive tackles. Those guys play so many plays and they do so many great things.”