Avril glad Seahawks’ trainers kept him from returning to Super Bowl

May 18, 2015, 1:40 PM | Updated: May 19, 2015, 8:46 am
Seattle’s Cliff Avril was knocked out of the Super Bowl in the third due to a concussion. (AP...
Seattle's Cliff Avril was knocked out of the Super Bowl in the third due to a concussion. (AP)
(AP)
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Lost in all the scrutiny of Seattle’s final offensive play was one of the lesser-talked about turning points of Super Bowl XLIX, the third-quarter concussion that sidelined Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril. He never returned and – probably not coincidentally – Seattle’s defense wasn’t the same.

Asked about his early exit during an interview on 710 ESPN Seattle’s “Justin and Gee” Monday, Avril said he’s glad he didn’t return to the game.

Listen: Seahawks DE Cliff Avril on “Justin and Gee”

“It was tough,” he said. “It was tough, but at the same time, though, I appreciated the training staff for not allowing me to go back in. At the end of the day, we play a great sport, a great game, but I think our health is very important as well.”

The concussion occurred on the play that resulted in Bobby Wagner’s interception when Avril knocked helmets with Patriots running back Brandon Bolden. Avril stayed down for the remainder of the play and was tended to by members of the Seahawks’ medical staff, who determined that he was unfit to return.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com noted how much better Tom Brady fared with Avril on the sideline (22-27, 214 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions, 97.7 QBR) than he did with Avril on the field (15-23, 106 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions, 24.8 QBR).

Who knows how the Super Bowl would have played out had Avril remained in the game. More importantly, though, who knows what further damage may have been done had Avril attempted to play through a head injury. He’s glad he wasn’t allowed to.

“It’s unfortunate that I couldn’t play,” he said. “But again, like I said, I appreciate them for keeping me out because those head injuries aren’t anything to be played with.”

Different offseason routine

Appearing in back-to-back Super Bowls means the Seahawks have played a combined 38 regular-season and playoff games the past two years. That total is 46 when taking into account the preseason schedule (though starters tend to play sparingly).

That’s six extra games of wear and tear on players’ bodies not to mention how the deep playoff runs cut into the off time between the end of the season and the start of the offseason program. Has that changed players’ approaches to their individual offseason work?

“It changed mine, I’ll tell you that. I’m getting older,” said Avril, who turned 29 in April. “Us playing I think over 40 games in the last two years, I think you’ve got to be smart about how you go about letting your body recover. It’s a lot of football in two years, and then the older you get it takes a little longer for you to bounce back. I took a longer break than I usually do, but once I get going I get going. But it’s just all about being smart about how you train for the offseason. But again, it’s all about recovery.”

Charity work

Avril and some of his Seahawks teammates took part in the 33rd Annual Nordstrom Beat the Bridge to Beat Diabetes walk on Sunday. The goal of the event was to raise money for type-1 diabetes research, a cause that Avril said his charity is geared toward.

“It was for a great cause,” Avril said. “Mike Bennett came out, Brandon Mebane came out to show support, and it was great.”

The website for Avril’s charity is Cliff Avril Family Foundation. More about Sunday’s event can be found here.

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